Companies failing to fill open positions due to the drug epidemic

Brockway, Jefferson County, Pa. - The drug epidemic can impact any employee or office. However, it is found that there's a higher impact for areas with large amounts construction or factory workers. 

Jimmy Knull is the safety director for a local manufacturing company based in Clearfield.  "They can't pass a drug test and that's the first thing you have to do to get into the door for us," explains Knull.  

It's just one of many small businesses in the region struggling to get employees through the door because of the drug epidemic. 

"The only way the counties are going to grow is if we keep these businesses here, and we need employees" says Jefferson County Commissioner Jeff Pisarcik. 

Knull's company doesn't tolerate any drug use in the workplace because of the heavy machinery on site. "It's a dangerous environment if someone doesn't have a clear mind," explains Knull, "even the smallest thing can cost you an appendage or even your life"

However, machinery is a reason why construction or factory jobs have some of the highest percentages for drug use, according to Drug education consultant Victor Parziale.  "People hurt themselves, they would typically go to the doctor to get pain pills for that. Then people get addicted to the pain pills and switch over"Thus, it is creating an endless cycle.

Tuesday, Jefferson County teamed up with the regional Drug and Alcohol Commission to help teach companies how to handle dealing with drugs through a rehabilitation approach.

"There are jobs out there. People say there's not, but there are. It's just getting people into those services they need so they can pass the drug test" explains the Community Mobilizer, Janie Braid.

Which is helping staff members identify the signs and symptoms to keep everyone in their office safe. Something Knull hopes could help fill the vacant spots- within his company. Helping ensure they can keep up with production against the big box companies. 

"If it wasn't for the people we had from the beginning, we may not be here," adds Knull. 

For signs and symptoms to look for, visit the "Drug Free PA" website. 

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