Ohio Job Searches Made Difficult Amid State Opioid Crisis

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Looking for a new job can be challenging. Balancing a job search with opioid addiction can be very difficult. Substance misuse of any sort can compromise your ability to look for a job, present well during an interview, and act reliably while on the job. Right now, Ohio is particularly short of workers, so it should be simpler to secure new employment. What is the dynamic between those struggling with substance misuse and the Ohio job market?

Addiction in the Workplace

Whether it is an opioid addiction or an addiction to alcohol, using drugs and alcohol can not only compromise your work performance, it can also make it difficult to find a job in the first place. If you currently hold a job or you are planning to find a new position, the cost of workplace addiction can be damaging to your employer and it can make it harder for you to establish a strong work history. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that more than 70 percent of people with a substance use disorder are employed. This means that your employer will be impacted by this disorder. When you are working and you have a substance use disorder, your workplace can suffer from:

  • Higher turnover as people are unable to work due to substance use disorders
  • Lost productivity due to inefficiencies because of drug use
  • Poor quality of work
  • Theft when people seek money or steal items to use to purchase drugs
  • Increased days away from the office, including sick days

This impacts workplace productivity to the tune of about $193 billion per year. A drug-free work environment would greatly increase the productivity of all workplaces.

Ohio Job Searches Made Difficult Amid State Opioid Crisis

Finding Employment in Ohio

There is a shortage of people to work in Ohio, yet at the same time, there are many people who are unemployed. Currently, there are over 15,000 jobs posted on one of the main Ohio job boards: Ohio Means Jobs. However, there is a big gap between the skills of the available workers and the jobs that are available. About three-quarters of the posted jobs require educational certification that applicants might not have, such as an associate’s degree. Employers of all kinds are looking for employees with the specific certifications that they require, with the addition of the soft skills that make the workplace run smoothly. These soft skills include customer service and problem-solving.

Companies are frustrated at turnover as well, particularly in entry-level jobs. People often have barriers to accessing these jobs, but once they are at the company and established in the position, there are opportunities to move up into higher-paying roles as well.

Finding A Job While You Are in Recovery

If you are already in recovery, you might feel uncertain about how you will find a job. You could feel anxious about getting references from past employers if your drug use impacted your work performance. You may also have gaps in your resume due to past substance use that impacted your ability to work. You could also have a criminal record due to thefts connected to your substance misuse. Those with an inconsistent work history wonder: is there a job out there for me? Yet finding a job can be one step out of many in your recovery journey, allowing you to find meaning and gainful productivity in your work.

According to the Dayton Daily News, “People who have served time in prison can expect to earn about 40 percent less in annual wages compared to those in similar circumstances who have not spent time in prison.” Most positions open to those who have a criminal record or a history of addiction include jobs such as labor and food service. It can be harder to find positions of higher responsibility, since employers may look at your record of addiction or your criminal record and feel doubtful about your ability to manage that responsibility.

What can you do if you are in recovery and need a position? Entering a training program to gain additional skills could be one option for gaining new employment. Some government officials are examining the possibility of combining training programs with recovery programs to address the workforce gaps and enable people with a history of substance misuse to enter the workforce in a supported way.

The Dayton Daily News states that Sen. Sherrod Brown “would use federal training grants to address workforce shortages and skill gaps caused by the opioid epidemic.” If you cannot access training programs prior to your application, some positions will train you on the job, allowing you to rise up in the company to other positions with higher pay and responsibility.

There is hope for people who are looking for work. Some businesses take on employees with a known history of struggles with substance misuse, even actively seeking out people from treatment programs. They also offer enhanced benefits such as counseling to make it easier for people to maintain employment, and they can offer time off or a second chance to those who have a recurrence of use. Working with local social service agencies and your treatment center, you can look into these businesses and programs to see if any of them would be an appropriate fit for you.

Addressing Substance Abuse While Looking for a Job

If you are looking for work but you need to work on your substance misuse challenges as well, you need access to Ohio addiction treatment resources. Addiction treatment centers can facilitate your better health, making it easier for you to look for and keep a job in the future. Treatment options include medical assistance to help you achieve sobriety, intensive inpatient and outpatient treatment programs that include counseling and other alternative therapies, and programs such as sober living and aftercare to help you maintain your sobriety during your job search and beyond.

At The Recovery Village Columbus, we strive to help you achieve a future without substance misuse. Connect with us to learn more about our many programs, including medical assistance, intensive inpatient and outpatient therapies, and alternative therapies. We also offer opportunities for aftercare. Contact us today to learn about admission.