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Working for a solution

One of the side effects of the opioid epidemic is its detrimental effect on the workforce in the region.

All too often, employers have said they are unable to fill positions due to people not being able to pass a drug test, while those who have gone through recovery have faced the stigma of their past as an obstacle to employment and returning to the workforce.

This week, Ohio’s U.S. senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, announced that he and West Virginia Republican Shelley Moore Capito had secured a provision in a bipartisan Senate package, the Opioid Crisis Response Act, aimed at addressing the workforce shortage created by the addiction crisis.

Their provision is based on bipartisan legislation the two introduced earlier in the month, the Collectively Achieving Recovery and Employment (CARE) Act, which was expected to pass the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee this week.

The senators said their provision in the package will provide the support for recovering addicts to get back on their feet and fill workforce needs.

The provision would target federal workforce training grants to address the workforce shortages and skill gaps caused by the opioid epidemic.

Although they are respectively one of the Senate’s most liberal names and one of the right’s most reliable votes, in opposing parties and often at odds, it is an example of leadership that Brown and Capito could come together and work on this important legislation that affects the  Appalachian region they represent and the nation as a whole.

We commend them for their bipartisan success and hope this will help to address the problem.