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ICYMI: Chairman Chabot Op-ed on How Opioids are Affecting Small Businesses

WASHINGTON – This week, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) wrote an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer on how the opioid crisis is affecting small businesses and how the Committee is addressing this important issue.

“... According to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), small business optimism is at a 45-year high. But they have also expressed concern over a new problem: a lack of qualified workers.

“While this may be due to a number of different factors, research today shows that many young, working-age Americans are not working or actively seeking work as a direct result of opioids. As I learned at a recent hearing we held, small business owners are doing their part to combat the crisis, not just for their bottom lines, but to save people’s lives…

“Not surprisingly, the crisis has had a major effect on small businesses. Workers on opioids are less dependable and productive. In 2015, an estimated two million workers were not in the labor force due to opioids. Small businesses, especially those in the construction and manufacturing sectors, have been hit hard as opioid prescription use is typically 5-10 percent higher in these industries.

“But some small business owners have taken it upon themselves to fight the epidemic… The Ohio SBDC created a workshop to equip small business employers and employees with the information and tools they need to take a proactive role against the epidemic. The Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation also offers free Drug Free Workplace Training that includes employee education, testing for drug use, and how to respond to an employee’s harmful use of drugs.

“While the opioid crisis is taking a hit on our nation’s small businesses, we at the committee will continue to pursue solutions that work for our nation’s small business owners and their employees. Allen likes to say that "a job is the best antidote," and I’d have to agree – that’s why small businesses like hers are so important to overcoming this terrible epidemic. 

“My hope is that through practical solutions and a little compassion, we can help small businesses find and retain qualified workers, and more importantly, save peoples’ lives.”

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