‘Recovery to Work’ program to rehab addicts who can’t get work
By Sarah Einselen
Drug addicts who can’t get or keep a job because of their addiction may be eligible to receive treatment through a new program called “Recovery to Work” funded by the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission and the Crawford/Marion Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health board. Jody Demo-Hodgins, Crawford/Marion ADAMH director, announced the program’s formation at a meeting with area human resources representatives in the Crawford County Courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 1.
Recovery to Work is designed to assist people with addiction or mental health issues that present barriers to employment, and is not open to people who are already employed. The RSC put up $253,000 for the program in Crawford and Morrow counties. The local ADAMH board matched with $84,800, of which $34,000 came from Crawford’s share of the board’s levy funding.
Drug addiction often appears in tandem with mental disabilities, according to Demo-Hodgins. Plus, “we know very quickly that using drugs, especially opiates, has a strong effect on the brain,” she said, so pairing drug addiction with mental health for Recovery to Work made sense.
“It’s not just an addiction issue,” echoed Dave Williamson, director of the Crawford County Economic Development Partnership. “It’s also a mental health issue.” And if drug addicts are applying for jobs over and over while failing drug tests, they’re probably beyond recreational drug use and into the addiction stage, he said.
The program is open to unemployed Crawford or Marion residents age 18 and up who struggle with mental and emotional disorders including alcohol and drug dependency or ex-offender status. A dozen people are in various stages of the program now.
Tonya Thompson, the Vocational Rehabilitation Public and Private Partnerships coordinator for Crawford and Marion counties, assesses each applicant for eligibility. Then eligible applicants start in some kind of vocational counseling or treatment, depending on the kind of mental health or addiction issue involved. At the conclusion of the program, recovering addicts might work for a trial period with an employer and be paid by the ADAMH board during the trial.
Thompson is working with Community Counseling Services in Bucyrus, with the Maryhaven drug treatment office in Delaware and with the Marion Area Counseling Center.
The success rate for addiction treatment is low, Demo-Hodgins said, remaining at around 10 to 12 percent. Opiates addiction treatment success rates are generally even lower since so many addicts relapse at least temporarily. However, if those relapses are considered part of the recovery process, long-term recovery rates approach the long-term success rates of mental health treatments, she said.
Gov. John Kasich announced the formation of Recovery to Work at the state level in April and the allocation of $36 million for the program. According to the governor’s press release, the new drug treatment and work readiness funds came from a partnership between the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, the RSC, the Ohio Department of Mental Health, and Ohio’s county ADAMH boards. With $9 million from the ADAMH boards statewide, RSC was able to receive $27 million in matching federal dollars.
For more information about the Crawford-Marion Recovery to Work program, call Tonya Thompson at (419) 562‑2000 or (419) 834‑3874.