A Hollister business is teaming up with the Stone and Taney counties’ Substance Abuse Initiative to offer an employer workshop on identifying substance abuse.
Mike Tucker, branch manager at Arrowhead Building Supply Inc., said he was inspired to host the workshop after seeing a presentation from Sgt. Danielle Heil of Missouri State Highway Patrol on opioid abuse in Taney County.
“It hit home with me,” Tucker said. “I had a brother who passed away --— some family members in the past who had been addicted to opioids and such — and I just noticed in the room there were so many business owners and business leaders that kind of had this look on them and had all these questions.”
According to Tucker, Arrowhead provides training to management staff on identifying substance abuse in the workplace. Marietta Hagan, program coordinator of the initiative, said the training focuses on identifying the signs and knowing how to help.
“The training is designed to identify the physical, behavioral, speech and performance indicators of possible substance abuse,” Hagan said, noting there has been a shift in the attitude of area businesses when it comes to substance abuse. “So if you see someone who’s always been on time and been a good worker for several years having absenteeism, it gives the people who attend this training the knowledge to approach that employee and offer help, resources and hopefully get them back on track.”
In June, the Substance Abuse Initiative announced the results of six months of research identifying alcohol and prescription drug use the top two areas of focus in Taney in Stone counties. The initiative is the result of a grant from the Skaggs Foundation. Partnering with the workshop was an easy decision for Hagan, who said it ties into the mission of the initiative.
“One of the recommendations Dr. William Geary (a consultant and a prevention specialist who completed the assessment) included in the community assessment was a community awareness campaign,” she said. “That’s everything from general awareness, to a media campaign ... so this ties into that part. We’re going to be educating up to 500 people on substance issues, and providing them with knowledge, which increases our community buy-in and readiness level. Once we reach those higher levels of awareness, we can start pushing for policy changes to make an impact.”
Hagan said she’s hopeful events like the workshop will help lead to change in the community.
“The change in the community has to come from the community,” Hagan said. “It can’t come from me. I’m willing to support it, but I can’t lead it or else we won’t get the community buy in.”
In addition to the training, the workshop will also feature an expert panel hosted by a pharmacist, lawyer, healthcare professional, law enforcement officer and an individual in recovery.
The workshop runs from 8 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Aug. 2, at the Hollister High School auditorium. Attendance is free, but registration is required by July 26.
To register, visit the Skaggs Foundation website, skaggsfoundation.org/substance-abuse-initiative.html, or contact Hagan by phone at 417-335-7333 or email, Marietta.Hagan@coxhealth.com.