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Clean drug screens are goal of Trumbull grant project

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Staff report

WARREN

The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board is one of 18 similar agencies in Ohio to receive a $20,000 grant to help employers write drug-free workplace policies and otherwise manage workplace issues with substance abuse and severe and persistent mental illness.

One goal will be to reduce the number of times drug screens come back positive.

One way to do this is to educate employers on how to detect drug use and how to report it, said Lauren Thorp, director of recovery and youth programs at the mental-health and recovery board.

Another way is to educate workers on the things that cause a positive drug test, such as marijuana use.

“Some people don’t think marijuana is going to be a problem,” Thorp said. In reality, marijuana remains in a person’s body for weeks and can be one of the largest sources of positive drug screens.

Employees also need to know that they are not going to be able to use medical marijuana at work, even though Ohio has legalized medical marijuana, she said.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t understand that,” Thorp said.

The project, called the Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative, will continue through next year.

It will make use of the expertise of a company called Working Partners, which advises companies on drug-free workplace policies.

“The funding will enable the TCMHRB to assist job seekers in finding employment, assist businesses in implementing drug-free workforce policies, provide support to individuals who are currently employed who have a positive drug screen, and connect employers to drug-free workers,” Thorp said.

Partners will include Trumbull County Job and Family Services, Ohio Means Jobs, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Mahoning Valley Community Foundation and others.