Wednesday is the last day to register for an upcoming workshop on substance abuse, targeted at business and community leaders. The event, titled Substance Abuse in the Workplace, is being presented by Chenango Health Network, Commerce Chenango and UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital.

“With the current substance use crisis and New York State potentially legalizing marijuana, we feel it’s an extremely important time for employers to know what their rights and responsibilities are,” said Jamie Hagenbuch of Chenango Health Network, who spearheaded planning of the event.

The informational forum will take place Thursday, January 31 at Canasawacta Country Club in Norwich. Breakfast will begin at 7:45 a.m. on the day of the event, with the presentation to follow at 8:30. Those interested in attending have until Wednesday, January 23 to register. The cost to attend is $20 for Commerce Chenango members and $25 for non-members.

According to Melissa Stagnaro of UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital, more than 100 people were already registered for the breakfast event as of Friday.

“Our intention is to give attendees a greater understanding of the impact of this problem on our community and how to recognize the warning signs of substance use in the workplace,” explained Stagnaro.

“We’ll also talk about the legal responsibilities of employers, and how to take effective steps to assist employees in getting help while protecting other workers and the organization.”

Dawn J. Lanouette of Hinman, Howard & Kattel, LLP is the event’s featured speaker. A panel discussion, moderated by Commerce Chenango President & CEO Steve Craig, with follow.

Panelists include Ruth Roberts, Director of Community Services for Chenango County; Matt Skojec, Program Coordinator, Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services for Chenango County; Dr. Julia Hunter, Assistant Medical Director, UHS Addiction Medicine; and Alan Wilmarth, Administrative Director, UHS Behavioral Health.

“It’s important for business leaders and human resources personnel to be educated and prepared so that if and when substance abuse issues arise, they can address them effectively,” said Craig.

The chamber executive and his fellow organizers found further support from Care Compass Network, a regional not-for-profit working toward improving the health and life of those served by the Medicaid program.

“One of our goals is to increase the community’s understanding of behavioral health conditions such as substance use disorder and their impact on individuals and families, with the hope of reducing stigma and improving access to care and treatment for those in need,” explained CCN Project Manager Bouakham Rosetti.

Thanks to funding Rosetti secured through her agency, the first 100 who registered for the program will attend free of charge.

Beyond those initial registrants, the cost to attend is $20 for Commerce Chenango members and $25 for non-members. To register, contact Commerce Chenango at (607) 334-1400 or via email at register@chenangony.org.