Tackling drug abuse is one of our most pressing problems. For many years, my company has voluntarily conducted drug screens on employees and provided treatment for those who test positive for drugs. As a member of the Putnam County Economic Development Authority, I hear from potential investors and local employers every day about the challenges of finding a drug-free workforce. Drug abuse is stopping new jobs and investment. We cannot afford to waste another minute in solving this crisis.
Additionally, many West Virginia communities are being torn apart by both the prescription drug and the street level drug trade, causing once prosperous communities to become nests of crime and poverty. Every man, woman, and child deserves a safe, livable community and we need leaders in the Capitol who are going to make that reality.
If West Virginia is going to be able to attract world-class, 21st-century jobs, we have to solve the drug problem once and for all.
Invest in Drug Treatment
West Virginia needs real investment in drug treatment facilities and counseling centers. Currently, West Virginia has only 13 90+ day residential treatment clinics. Our state is the national leader in prescriptin drug overdose-related death. If we don’t increase the number of treatment options, this number is going to continue to climb and make economic recovery impossible.
I will look at any funding opportunity or revenue stream to begin to increase the number of residential clinics and outpatient opportunities in our state immediately. We cannot afford to waste another minute.
No one is going to get off of drugs without the ability to positively change their life for the better. Success rates for drug addiction recovery depend on many factors, but one of the most important is the ability to get a job. Too many times, nonviolent drug addicts end up with criminal records that damages their ability to find employment. I support “Second Chance” legislation that will wipe the records of nonviolent offenders who successfully participate in recovery programs.
Additionally, as an employer, I provide treatment for any of my employees who may be facing drug problems. We need to create incentives for employers to hire recovering drug addicts who continue to test negative for illegal substances. This will work to put recovering addicts back into the workforce greatly increasing their chances of success.