RICHMOND, Ind. – Second lady of the United States Karen Pence lauded a Richmond company's new opioid addiction treatment initiative during a Tuesday visit to its wire and cable manufacturing facility on the city's northwest side.
Pence, joined by senior members of President Donald Trump's administration — including special counselor Kellyanne Conway, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams and Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta — learned about Belden's new pilot program, launched earlier this year, for employees and new hires struggling with addiction.
Belden introduced the Pathways program in February as an alternative to typical immediate-termination procedures after failed drug screenings by existing employees and new hires.
The company first began working on the pilot in September 2017 and coordinated with national and local agencies, including Ivy Tech, Manpower, Meridian Health and Centerstone to form a task force to find a viable solution.
The resulting program includes separate paths for high-risk and low-risk workers, with requirements and safety precautions taken into account for participants in each group. There are separate pathways for low-risk and high-risk workers, and each employee is given a specific, highly-structured program to follow in order to get back to work.
Belden pays all fees associated with the program, with the help of the employee's insurance, shelling out an average of $5,000 for each employee enrolled. The company has not yet sought incentives or abatements for the program through local or state economic agencies.