On June 10th, the DEA’s Washington Division partnered with the Milken Institute to host an invite-only virtual roundtable event with local businesses. Major employers like Leidos, the Baltimore Ravens, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the American Medical Association, Sesame Street, and many others, joined to discuss the impact of addiction and illicit drug health crises through the lens of public health and safety. Discussions were held to better understand the critical role employers play when it comes to supporting our communities where we live, work and play.
As part of Operation Engage, members of the Washington Division’s executive team (Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Jarod Forget; Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Michael Rothermund; Diversion Program Manager, Justin Wood; Field Intelligence Manager, Jennifer Lofland; and Community Outreach Coordinator, La’Risa McLennon) briefed local employers on drug threats in the Washington D.C. area, the resources DEA provides, and examples of past collaborative projects in the area.
“We are calling on our neighbors, our partners, our community organizations, our local businesses – whomever we can, to work together to give local families a better quality of life and businesses places to thrive,” SAC Forget said. “I want people, no matter where they live in Maryland, D.C., or Virginia to be able to sit on their porch, play in their yards, walk down the street, and not worry about violence.”
The purpose of this session was to share more about the illicit drug impact on your local community through the lens of the DEA, and to make companies aware of the prevention resources that are available. Partners such as the American Medical Association, Song for Charlie, and Sesame Street provided details on how their organization became public facing advocates for substance abuse prevention.
“Over 75% of employers have been affected in some way by employee opioid use, while only 17% of employers believe their organization is extremely well prepared to deal with opioid use in the workplace,” according to the National Safety Council. This business roundtable event aimed to positively impact this statistic, providing employers throughout the area information on how to take the next or first step through a series of pre and post event interview questions.
The event turned out to be a great success, connecting many employers with the Washington Division for future collaborative projects and continuing to further drug prevention efforts across the area, with new partners.