The State Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) that is aimed at breaking the cycle of addiction by establishing a pilot program to help individuals in recovery obtain meaningful employment opportunities.
Senate Bill 118 would create the “Recovery to Work Pilot Program” to connect individuals in recovery with high-priority occupations through local workforce development boards.
“An important, yet often overlooked, side effect of this epidemic is the vicious cycle that many individuals with a history of substance abuse fall into when trying to find and maintain steady employment,” Langerholc said. “Meaningful employment is essential to an individual’s long-term recovery. It provides a renewed sense of purpose and helps those in recovery support themselves and their families.”
Langerholc said the pilot program will be spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Industry with the assistance of the departments of Health, Community and Economic Development, and Drug and Alcohol Programs, as well as the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
These departments will develop a plan for the local workforce development boards to work with the treatment and recovery community as well as local employers and training providers to offer job training and employment opportunities to individuals in recovery.
“Since the local workforce development boards will be leading the implementation of the pilot program, the strategies will be locally focused to meet the needs of area employers and the local treatment and recovery community,” Langerholc said.
Langerholc’s bill is one of seven bills being considered by the State Senate this week. The package is intended to combat the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic by improving prescription drug monitoring, limiting opioid prescriptions, targeting drug dealers and taking other steps to limit the damage inflicted by the addiction crisis in Pennsylvania communities.
It is a continuation of bipartisan efforts led by Senate Republicans over the past six years to combat the opioid epidemic.
Beginning in 2014, lawmakers joined the Center for Rural Pennsylvania for a series of hearings to study the problem and identify solutions. As a result of these hearings, new laws were created to limit prescriptions, improve and expand addiction treatment, and improve public education about the dangers of drug abuse.
The Senate expects to consider all of the bills this week.
CONTACT: Gwenn Dando 717-787-5400