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Workforce Recovery Program Brings Workshop To Cook Group In Bloomington

Photo of The Cook Medical Group Headquarters

(Sean Hogan/WFIU)

Only about half a percent of Indiana employees are referred to substance abuse treatment by their employers. 

That’s something the Indiana Workforce Recovery Program is trying to change with free workshops for businesses. Leaders at Cook Group in Bloomington learned about helping employees who struggle with addiction and substance abuse.

Recovery Director Mike Thibideau says it’s hard to overcome the stigma of shame attached to drug addiction.

"When we look at an individual who’s even got something like depression, anxiety or one of those things.  A lot of people think well that’s just like, tough it out, that’s a thing you need to get through, you need to work harder," Thibideau says. 

Nearly half of the 50,000 Hoosiers entering treatment programs each year are part of Indiana’s workforce, according to a report from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. That’s 16 percent higher than the national average.

Thibideau wants more employers to encourage their staff to ask for help. 

"If somebody’s an employee right now and they have a job and they’re struggling, I would encourage them to go to their employer and ask for assistance," he says. "Go to the right person, an HR representative and say that you’re struggling and you need help."

The IWR conducts a survey every year involving hundreds of employers statewide. The survey measures how employers approach employee drug addiction and if any progress is made. 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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