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Past Event

The economic impact of the opioid epidemic: Labor supply and the workplace

Past Event

The opioid epidemic has had far-reaching consequences, including on the workforce. Opioid addiction affects the labor supply through decreased labor force participation and reduced hours of work for employees. At the same time, employers are seeking to foster supportive work environments for employees in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD), which can require altering business processes.

On April 18, the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy will welcome Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Julie Wernau of the Wall Street Journal for a fireside chat on the opioid epidemic’s impact on the labor force and how workplaces can become recovery-friendly.

The fireside chat will be followed by an expert panel discussion on policies, programs, and strategies that can support SUD recovery and foster continued participation in the labor force for individuals in recovery. The panel will include Dr. Tisamarie Sherry (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), Kyle Zimmer (International Union of Operating Engineers), Dana Lariviere (Chameleon Group), and will be moderated by Richard Frank (Brookings). Complementing the event, Brookings released a blog post discussing the economic impact of the opioid epidemic.

Viewers can submit questions by emailing or tweeting to @BrookingsEcon using the hashtag #RecoveryFriendly. To learn more about Dana Lariviere’s experience with implementing a recovery-friendly workplace, you can contact him at


Fireside chat

Panel discussion

Kyle Zimmer

Health & Safety Director and Members Assistance Program Director - IUOE Local 478 (International Union of Operating Engineers)

Tisamarie Sherry

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Behavioral Health, Disability and Aging Policy - Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services

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