Opioids on a counter.

Federal Grant Launched to Combat the Opioid Crisis

By Morgan Grant | 07/31/2018

The opioid epidemic has been declared a public health emergency. Lost workforce productivity in American businesses - as demonstrated through diminished job performance, absenteeism, incarceration, and even death - has approached $20 billion annually because of opioid abuse. Now more than ever, any effort to control and minimize the effect the epidemic is having on our society is severely needed. And during a time when the opioid epidemic constantly brings sad news, it is refreshing to hear about positive action that is being taken to fight back.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced their latest initiative to help minimize the impact of the opioid crisis. The National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Demonstration Grant pilot program is meant to help workers who have been directly or indirectly impacted by the opioid crisis. Up to $21 million will be made available to help support eligible dislocated workers with job retraining programs, addiction management, and more.

The Main Purpose of the Dislocated Worker Grant:

Train workers who have been affected by the epidemic

Eligible dislocated workers will have the opportunity to receive job training that will help get them ready for employment. The goal of the training to pull as many people out of this crisis, while providing them with the tools they need to successfully move forward.

Provide training for professions that could have an impact on the treatment of the opioid crisis

To encourage more people to consider a field in an industry such as pain management or addiction treatment, grant money will go toward building better training programs around these professions. Grants will also be offered to eligible students working toward a degree or certification in related programs.

Test out-of-the-box solutions

The opioid crisis is so complex and has so many moving parts that the Department of Labor feels that the best solution may be an unexpected one. This two-phase, multi-year plan provides funds to further research the issue, hopefully bringing a solution to light in the process.

Who is eligible for an NHE grant?

  1. Workers, dislocated workers, new entrants into the workforce, or incumbent workers with the following qualifications:
    • The applicant, a close friend of theirs, or an individual in their family has a history of opioid abuse.
    • The applicant is located in an area or community that has been directly affected by the opioid crisis.
  2. Any workers wanting to enter or advance in a profession that is directly associated with supporting individuals struggling with the epidemic, or involves the support of solving the underlying issues. These individuals will be provided with reskilling, upskilling, or training to enhance their skills in substance abuse treatment, prevention of medication dependence, and mental health care services. 

The grants make up a total of $21,000,000 and will be separated as 7 – 10 awards, ranging from $500,000 - $5,000,000 each. Eligible areas include: 

  • State workforce agencies 
  • Indian tribal governments
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Republic of Palau
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Republic of Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia

The nation is experiencing a heartbreaking crisis, but efforts are being made to fight back. If you are someone who has been affected by the opioid crisis, you can learn about your eligibility for the grant program here

Are you an employer who is concerned about drug use in your workplace? Concentra can help keep your company safe through pre-hire and random drug testing. Contact a Concentra representative today to learn more about these services.