Canaan, CT – Mountainside Treatment Center has been designated as a Recovery-Friendly Workplace by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. Deputy Commissioner Mark Polzella of the Connecticut Department of Labor formally presented the recognition Tuesday. Mountainside is one of the first organizations in the state to receive this designation, highlighting the rehabilitation center’s commitment to breaking down negative perceptions surrounding individuals coping with substance use disorders. This initiative goes beyond simply accepting employees with SUDs; it fosters a work environment that helps staff recognize their strengths and take actionable steps toward recovery so they can make their personal and professional goals a reality.
According to a review of federal data carried out by an Open Society Foundations publication, Defining the Addiction Treatment Gap, 23.5 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol, but only 11%, around 2.5 million, receive treatment. Obstacles include a lack of time and resources, unaddressed mental illness, and the unfair societal stigma and shame surrounding SUDs. Those with a strong support network in place, however, are more likely to overcome those barriers and seek out the help they need.
Society, including corporations, must recognize and treat addiction as a disease precisely because the damage inflicted on lives and livelihoods is so immense. Workers with substance use disorders can encounter a range of negative long-term outcomes, from low job satisfaction and inconsistent performance to burnout and depression, jeopardizing their ability to support themselves and their families.
Addiction in the workplace also takes a toll on businesses in the form of greater healthcare costs, higher absenteeism, and lost productivity. In fact, the Connecticut Department of Labor estimates that approximately 300 million work hours have been wasted since 1999 due to the workplace impact of prescription drugs alone.
“Our recognition as a Recovery-Friendly Workplace by the State of Connecticut is a welcome acknowledgement of the values that have defined Mountainside since our inception,” said Andre Basso, Chief Executive Officer of Mountainside. “We want our employees to come to us if they have a problem, and we want them to know they will be helped and supported through the issues they’re facing. It takes a united community – including employers – to support the path of recovery.”
To be designated as a Recovery-Friendly Workplace, employers must complete a series of steps with the local Regional Behavioral Health Action Organization, including undergoing a workplace assessment, mobilizing resources for employees, and providing training and education to staff. The process also includes the announcement of a Peer Champion, a workplace peer who serves as an intermediary between the employee with an SUD and the organization’s management.
Mountainside lives up to its commitment to its workers by encouraging employees with a substance use condition to reach out to and seek support from colleagues, supervisors, and managers. Mountainside also provides reasonable accommodations allowed under state and federal law for employees and their families; offers connections to services that could benefit staff with SUDs; and hires and maintains employment opportunities for individuals who are or have been affected by substance abuse, seek treatment, and maintain a history of recovery and sobriety. Information about employment opportunities with Mountainside can be found on our careers page.