Giving Compass' Take:
- In rural areas, more employers are creating safe places for employment that adopt practices that specifically help those struggling with substance use disorder.
- How can donors help strengthen these models in rural places?
- Read about decreasing substance abuse in rural areas.
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By providing a job and a supportive structure for people transitioning into drug-free living, employers are helping their broader community, reports Kristi Eaton of The Daily Yonder. "Rural communities ravaged by substance misuse could benefit from people in recovery being active members of the local workforce, say experts in criminal justice, substance misuse, and labor studies." Sometimes called "second-chance workplaces," these businesses offer employment and a place of meaning without drugs.
Kristina Brant, assistant professor of Rural Sociology at Pennsylvania State University, told Eaton, "[These are] employers hoping to adopt specific policies and practices that are going to be supportive of people who are in recovery from substance use disorder. They want to create an environment that's structurally and culturally going to help people in recovery thrive." Eaton adds, "Stable and meaningful employment is a goal for many people in recovery – not everyone, but many people, she said."
Drug misuse recovery can be harder in rural places because of stigma and a culture of "everybody knows everybody's business." Eaton reports, "Being in recovery can still hurt peoples' chances at getting a job, acquiring a place to live and even making friendships, Brant said. . . . Logistics also play a role. Someone in treatment court may be required to attend court several times a week, and a recovery-friendly workplace would be conducive to that."
Some business models are flexible and can adjust to addiction recovery needs. "Brant said there are many examples of recovery-friendly workplaces. Cafes are popular options. One example is Black Sheep Brick Oven Bakery and Catering, located in Jackhorn, Kentucky," Eaton reports. "The restaurant hires. . . folks emerging from incarceration created by the opioid crisis." Brant told Eaton: "You're serving this dual purpose of creating a place that people know will be a supportive work environment, but also bringing something positive to the community. I think that's a really nice model to focus on."
Read the full article about recovery employers by Heather Close at The Rural Blog.