Building a drug-free work force

For nearly a year-and a half, I’ve been working with West Virginians from across our state — families, law enforcement officers, mayors, experts, business owners and many more — in an effort to fight substance abuse.

We’ve learned a lot in that time, and since then we’ve taken strategic, meaningful steps. We’ve invested millions of dollars in existing and new treatment and prevention programs. We now have laws in place to put an end to “pill mills” and “doctor shopping.” And to the individuals seeking job training from the state we’ve said we will no longer invest taxpayer dollars if you cannot pass a drug test. You must be drug free to receive training.

Now, we’re taking another step with the Governor’s Drug-Free Work Force initiative. Our message is simple: If you get high, you won’t get hired. Through this new initiative, business owners, community leaders, and employees are coming together and taking a stand against drug abuse.

I’ve created a website, and I’m working with businesses, schools, and treatment centers to educate West Virginians of all ages. We’re encouraging West Virginians to face their future. We want students to know there are good-paying, quality jobs available, but there is no future in drugs.

I want everyone to know how they can join the effort to fight substance abuse, where they can go to get help so they can become drug free and how we can all, young and old, advocate for a drug-free community. If we are to succeed, we must carry the message: if you get high, you won’t get hired — to every member of our current and future work force.

The damage caused by drugs and alcohol are problematic for workplaces, our communities and the future of our state. It is up to us to share with our families, our kids and our friends the grave consequences of substance abuse. We must tell them how drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in our state — killing more West Virginians than car crashes. We must tell them how we have the nation’s highest rate of drug deaths, with nine out of 10 overdoses involving at least one prescription drug. We must take a stand. We are a state filled with wonderful people who have the ability to do not just good, but great things. And working together, we will build a brighter future for West Virginia — a future without drugs.

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