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Lake County introduces a new program to help combat opioid epidemic

Posted at 9:23 AM, Dec 13, 2017

The cost of the opioid epidemic in the United States has reached eye-popping proportions and businesses are feeling the sting. Drug Abuse and addiction adding up to $80 billion each year in lost productivity and healthcare costs according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

In Ohio, those costs range anywhere between three and five billion per year.

"We know that two-thirds of Americans that misuse prescription medications are on their company's payroll at the time," says the Executive Director of the Lake County Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board, Kim Fraser.

To help fight the epidemic, the Lake County ADAMHS board has introduced Operation Resolve, a proactive coordinated effort with area companies. Suburban Manufacturing in Eastlake is one of the companies that invited Operation Resolve in for a presentation to its employees to help spread awareness about opiate addiction.

“I think it gives people a more comfortable, more trusting way to say you know what I do have a problem,” says Suburban Manufacturing Office Manager Roxanne Putnam. “My nephew, or my son, my daughter, or my mom and I need some help and some time off and I just didn't want to say anything but now I know everybody needs help."

Fraser says the program was a collaboration between the Lake County ADAMHS Board and Leadership Lake County and is a way of hitting back against this epidemic from every angle using a blend of federal and state dollars along with local investment.

"If we come into a group like this and if we can open the eyes and raise awareness in just one person, if we can make the difference in just one family in lake county then we are doing our jobs," added Fraser.

A total of 30 businesses in Lake County like Suburban Manufacturing have or will be hosting these presentations for their employees giving area companies a chance to offer another line of support to its workers.

"We don't know everybody's family stories or what's going on at home or who they know or who may have a problem so if we can help one employee or neighbor we want to do that,” said Putnam.  “We live here, we work here. We want it to be a great place to live and work."

In addition to the companies involved, the Lake County ADAMHS Board is in active talks with nearly 15 others showing interest in bringing the Operation Resolve program to its employees.