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Ford Motor Company’s Comprehensive Approach to Addressing the Opioid Crisis

Michigan ranks 10th among states for opioid prescriptions and 18th for opioid-related deaths. The opioid crisis does not discriminate; it affects families of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and ultimately impacts employers’ bottom line.

The Detroit Regional Chamber recently interviewed Jerry Carson, UAW International Coordinator for Ford Motor Company. Carson was asked what Ford is doing to address the opioid crisis in the workplace, and what advice he would give similar companies seeking to provide resources to employees.

“UAW-Ford has developed and delivered an opioid, opiate, and heroin epidemic awareness campaign, titled the ‘UAW-Ford Campaign of Hope.’” said Carson. “We deliver the campaign to UAW-Ford work locations and to the surrounding community via UAW-Ford Campaign of Hope town hall meetings that usually take place in local UAW union halls.”

The UAW-Ford Campaign of Hope consists of the following components:

  1. Education and information that clearly shows that addiction is a chronic brain disease and should be treated as such.
  2. Treatment providers share information on accessing treatment programs and resources.
  3. A long-term recovering addict shares their personal story of overcoming addiction, regaining control, and living a rewarding life.
  4. A toolkit for employees including: drug deactivation kits to safely dispose of unused pain medication, locking bags that are to be used to secure medication, and a list of NARCAN workshops employees can sign up for. These workshops are hosted in partnership with organizations including the County Department of Mental Health, Families Against Narcotics, Unite to Face Addiction Michigan, Deaths Avoided With NARCAN, and Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition.

“The first step is to get educated on the disease of addiction. The second step is to build relationships with organizations in your community that offer treatment programs, resources, and tools.” said Carson when asked for tips and resources to provide to other companies struggling to address this issue.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, contact one of these organizations for immediate help:

  • Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority
    • Website: www.dwmha.com
    • Phone number: 800-241-4949
  • Families Against Narcotics
    • Email: fan@familiesagainstnarcotics.org
    • Phone number: 586-438-8500
  • Unite To Face Addiction Michigan
    • Website: www.UFAMichigan.org
    • Phone number: 810-360-5779