LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Business leaders from across the country came to Lexington Monday to discuss ways to fight the national opioid epidemic.
The first-ever Kentucky Opioid Summit is seeking solutions to the crisis that has hit Kentucky particularly hard. Despite Kentucky's growing economy, the state has one of the lowest workforce participation rates in the country.
"Much of that has to do with the substance abuse disorder, literally killing our workforce and plaguing our workers," said Beth Davisson, the Workforce Center Executive Director for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Hundreds of business leaders hope to bring innovative ideas to address the issue and find a solution to the opioid-based workforce shortage.
"There's so many opportunities for employers to step up for their workers, whether that's taking better advantage of their employee assistance programs," said Davisson.
The chamber of commerce says one of the most important things employers can do is provide options for their workers who have been or may become effected, and make sure their workers are aware of the options they have when seeking help.
"Employers have a lot of buying power and consumer power when it comes to working with those health care providers, so asking for alternative treatment methods when it comes to physical therapy instead of just getting that prescription for opioids," said Davisson.
Davisson says employers need to be aware of the struggles of their workers, and be ready to offer second chances to those who have come through their addiction.
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will soon launch an opioid response program that will support businesses in finding the best practices to fight employee addiction.