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Interactions between human services programs and the opioid crisis: Self-sufficiency supports

Individuals with opioid and other substance use disorders often have concurrent issues such as poverty, bouts of homelessness, and low educational attainment. Many of them live in rural areas with limited employment and substance use disorder treatment options. These concurrent issues can create additional hurdles to achieving and maintaining recovery.

Employment is a critical component of sustaining recovery. Staff who provide comprehensive services for individuals with a substance use disorder must work with local employers to identify jobs that provide a good fit for people in recovery so that they can succeed in the workplace. While there are some workforce development resources available through existing government programs, most do not offer services specifically tailored to those with a substance use disorder, and may even exclude those struggling with addiction from receiving services.

Kentucky’s Addiction Recovery Care program (ARC), described here, is notable for providing workforce development services specifically for individuals with a substance use disorder.


  • Many individuals with opioid use disorder experience concurrent issues that can impede recovery, such as poverty, homelessness, and low educational attainment.
  • Training those who have completed treatment to be peer support specialists could help address staffing shortages.
  • Even after successful medical treatment of their addiction, many people still need to learn (1) skills to maintain their recovery; (2) life skills; and (3) job skills.


Education & Training, Employment, Health, Job Training, Labor Market, Mental Health & Substance Abuse