(WAUKESHA, WI, September 2nd, 2020 )– Peter Bruzelle, Executive Director of WisHope, IRIS Health Clinics and a person in long-term recovery has established the Recovery Business Association, a nonprofit organization aiming to transform substance misuse in the workplace in support of employers, employees and economies nationwide.
“I am excited about the launch of RBA because it will allow employers to better tackle our nation’s addiction epidemic, which is not only a severe public health issue, but a serious workforce issue, too -one that employers must address to meet the challenges of finding and retaining quality workers in today’s world,” said Peter Brunzelle, RBA’s Founder.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse in the US alone is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of health care, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. It has been estimated that $1.5 Billion of this cost is incurred by businesses in the form of impaired productivity and absenteeism. The CDC also estimates that of 68.9% of 22.4 million illicit drug users are employed and of 76.1% of 2.4 million heavy drinkers are employed.
Economic research has found a strong link between rising opioid prescriptions and declining workforce participation rates, estimating that nearly half of men age 25 to 54 who are not in the workforce take pain medication daily and a higher rate of absenteeism among opioid abusers who work. The high level of substance misuse across the nation has shown to be a contributing factor in low workforce participation rates amongst young people and women, too.
Through RBA, small and large business entities, nonprofit organizations and professionals seeking support to improve issues related to addiction in the workplace, such as increased tardiness, healthcare costs and employee turnover will be able to undergo organizational screenings and assessments, receive support to develop recovery responsive workplace programming and policies, participate in customized trainings for executive teams and HR staff, and more.
“RBA is the first-ever association designed specifically to transform substance misuse in the workplace, which led by recovery and treatment professionals with extensive knowledge on developing and integrating recovery responsive programs for business entities. We offer a membership program to unite and support business organizations and professionals of all types. By joining, executive teams and professionals will have access to ongoing training and technical assistance to help them safeguard and empower their workforce and their bottom line,” said Brunzelle.
Through this program, RBA members will also have the opportunity to network with other business organizations and their executive teams working to develop recovery responsive programming, train their workforce on addiction-related issues, attend RBA’s annual summit, and more. All business organizations and professionals are welcome to apply. The RBA website (https://www.recoverybusinessassociation.org/) provides additional information and a place to register for updates and requests to participate in the membership program.
RBA’s vision is to change the way employers view and support their employees struggling with substance use issues in order to retain quality workers and support people in recovery. By participating in RBA’s innovative education, training and recovery employment coaching programs, employers can improve performance, productivity and morale, and ultimately, their bottom line. For more information, please visit: RecoveryBusinessAssociation.org
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