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Sen. McConnell gives remarks at conference focused on getting Kentuckians in recovery back to work

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 5:29 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Tuesday afternoon, Senator Mitch McConnell spoke at a conference about addiction recovery in the workplace. The focus of the meeting was getting Kentuckians in recovery back to work.

“Kentucky has received very significant amount of money to grapple with this terrible disease,” he said.

Some speakers said there’s a lot of wasted talent because some employers are hesitant to hire people who have an addiction.

“There’s no silver bullet to addiction. It doesn’t come on someone overnight and it’s hard to help them recover overnight,” said Tim Robinson, the CEO of Addiction Recovery Care (ARC).

ARC outreach coordinator and community liaison Samantha Carroll has experienced that personally.

“I came to Addiction Recovery Care and I was broken,” Carroll said. “Most people come from different backgrounds. They’re homeless, they have felonies, so it’s hard to find a job with that on your background.”

She says with felonies on her record, she was an undesirable job candidate. The jobs she was offered didn’t pay enough to support herself and her children.

“How do we continue to incentivize employers, to give second chances, to hire people in recovery?” Robinson said.

Robinson said people like Carroll can be some of the best employees.

“They actually miss less work, they’re more dependable, and they’re retained better by an employer,” Robinson said.

Senator Mitch McConnell said as the country moves out of the pandemic, there will be fallout.

“We had the problem big time before the pandemic, and it was only exacerbated by the pandemic,” McConnell said.

“Not having support groups that are open, churches closed, Celebrate Recovery, AA meetings, the interventions that happen through the court systems and through the criminal justice system not occurring, it’s been a really tough time for those in addiction” Robinson said.

He said it will take a team effort to help get Kentuckians back to work.

“Access to treatment, sober housing, vocational rehabilitation, job training, we have to have a way for our neighbors in addiction to be able to support themselves,” Robinson said.

Carroll said ARC helps people find jobs that match their interests. Her message to anyone struggling is to reach out.

“I have been homeless. I’ve done things in my addiction that I’m not proud of, but I don’t have to carry that today, and neither do you,” Carroll said.

Robinson said people in recovery need access to transportation and childcare, too.

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