Graves Chamber Breakfast Focuses on Opioid Crisis
By West Kentucky Star Staff
MAYFIELD - The Mayfield/Graves County Chamber of Commerce will offer a community breakfast in December that will focus on Kentucky's opioid crisis, and how it affects the business community.

In 2017, more than 1,500 Kentuckians died from drug overdose, an average of 4 each and every day, and the number of deaths is increasing by a rate of 11% each year.

Due to these startling numbers, the Mayfield/Graves County Chamber invites businesses on Tuesday, December 17, from 7:30 am – 8:30 am, at the WKRECC Community Room to discuss discuss opioid abuse in Graves County, the scope of the problem, current efforts to reduce abuse, and best practices that can be adopted by your business to combat the problem. 

Kentucky’s business community has become acutely aware that the opioid epidemic is more than a public health issue. It is also a serious workforce issue – one that employers must address to meet their challenges of finding and retaining workers.

The Kentucky Chamber’s Workforce Center is partnering with the state cabinets for Health and Family Services and Justice & Public Safety, the bio-pharmaceutical company Alkermes, and Aetna Better Health of Kentucky on a new, employer-focused initiative.The Opioid Response Program for Business, led by a task force of business and industry representatives, can work directly with employers to help audit their policies and recommend best practices to maintain a drug-free workplace while supporting a recovery-friendly culture. They focus on destigmatizing the addiction epidemic and supporting employers’ role in opioid prevention, treatment and recovery in the workplace.

Economic research has found a strong link between rising opioid prescriptions and declining workforce participation rates, estimating that nearly half of men age 25 to 54 who are not in the workforce take pain medication daily, and a higher rate of absenteeism among opioid abusers who work. Kentucky’s high level of substance abuse was a contributing factor in the state’s low workforce participation rate (one of the lowest in the country) in a 2017 Kentucky Chamber of Commerce report.

“Employers are feeling the impact firsthand,” said Denise Thompson, Director and CEO of the Mayfield/Graves County Chamber of Commerce. “As businesses struggle to find and retain workers, the opioid crisis is making the challenges even greater, and we are trying to educate and help our members in any way we can.”

Kentucky has taken a number of actions in recent years to combat the opioid epidemic, but the persistent need requires additional effort.
To learn more about this program and ways your company can assist, or to reserve your spot for the December Breakfast Blender, contact Allison Sloan, Community Relations Coordinator with the Mayfield/Graves Chamber, at 270-247-6101, or email

Published 06:05 PM, Sunday Nov. 24, 2019
Updated 05:50 PM, Sunday Nov. 24, 2019

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