Eight counties | 36 cities | one region

a voluntary council of local governments
serving the missouri meramec area.

As a part of this grant, we will host an annual workshop. In 2019, we chose to focus on employers. Two of the biggest challenges facing our region today are the opioid epidemic and the lack of workforce. There is a connection between the two. This workshop was aimed at introducing the idea to employers that individuals in recovery can be

Workshop Agenda

Speaker Biographies

Session 1: Opioid Use: The Cost to Business

At the request of MRPC, Journalist Jonathan Ahl dug into the numbers to see what the definable costs are to Missouri businesses, and how a runaway opioid epidemic and rampant addiction impacts the bottom line of companies across the state. Jonathan Ahl is with St. Louis Public Radio and works here in the Phelps County area.

Session 2: Substance Use Disorder

Clif Johnson, a Certified Reciprocal Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor at Southeast Missouri Behavioral Health, has worked in the field for 32 years. His work as a substance use disorder and compulsive gambling counselor gives him a deeper understanding of what a substance use disorder truly is. Dan Adams is a former high school teacher in southern Missouri where he observed firsthand the negative effects of drug and alcohol use on students. He is currently Director of Education at SEMO and is a member of the first Missouri cohort to be trained as medication assisted recovery specialists (MARS).

Session 2: Opioid Use Disorder

Dr. Patricia Cavazos is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) in St. Louis, MO. She is a clinically trained licensed psychologist and an accomplished clinical and translational scientist with expertise in the implementation of effective treatments for substance use disorders (SUD) in clinical and community settings. Her presentation, “Understanding Medication-Based Treatment for Opioid Use disorder” will focus on the different Medication Assisted Treatment options available for individuals who suffer from a substance use disorder.

Session 2: Recovery – The Next Stage of Treatment

Terisha Friedmann is a Missouri Recovery Support Specialist at Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan, MO in the field of substance use disorder, in the medication stabilization program. She currently provides addiction withdrawal services to adults who are currently experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms from opiates or alcohol. Her presentation, “Recovery is the Next Stage of Treatment” will focus on recovery once a person has begun MAT therapy and for the rest of their lives.

Keynote Speaker

Rebecca Losing is a recovering heroin addict and has been sober since March 10, 2014. Rebecca practices an abstinence recovery, which is considered complete cessation of the substance. Rebecca is here today to tell her story and share both the good and bad experiences she has had in employment since she began her recovery.

Session 3: Rural Employment

Linda Fitzgerald and Lynn Wehmeier are both workforce coordinators for the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development. Linda has spent most of her career helping individuals overcome barriers to employment and develop skills for self-sufficiency. Lynn currently spends her days focusing on bridging the gap between employers and job seekers. Their presentation, “Rural Employment in the Wake of the Opioid Crisis” will focus on the Missouri Works Together Grant that helps those in recovery transition to employment.

Session 3: Buried Treasures

Phil is the CEO and Founder of Cohen Architectural Woodworking in St. James, MO. His company employs about 80 people, many of whom are felons. Phil comes from hard beginnings and he was a drug addict. He believes in giving people a second chance, no matter their background, if they are willing to do the work.

Session 3: Rehabilitation through Innovation

Dr. Sean Siebert is the Chief Operating Executive of Invent Yourself, LLC in Cuba, MO. Dr. Siebert’s project, Rehabilitation through Innovation, assisted incarcerated individuals, many with drug charges, own their problems, recognize their value, document their job skills and access resources to help them re-enter the work force. This project won a national innovation award.

Session 4: A Best Practice Response

Karen Pierce is the managing director of Working Partners®, a training and consulting firm specializing in helping workplaces minimize the risks associated with substance misuse. Working Partners is located in Canal Winchester, Ohio.  Working Partners worked with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce to create the opioid toolkit on the Ohio Chamber of Commerce website.  She has spent the past 27 years consulting with businesses and communities around drug-free workplace issues.