Partnership focuses on substance abuse policies

By Thomas Franz
BridgeTower Media Newswires
DETROIT—In an effort to address substance abuse policies in the workplace, a pair of consulting firms recently announced a partnership to reach that goal.

Huntington Woods-based Switalski Law & Consulting has partnered with West Bloomfield-based Feinberg Consulting to address opioid use and the legalization of marijuana in Michigan.

“We both have different resources that overlap,” said Jodi Switalski, founder of Switalski Law. “I’ve created workplace and medical systems which Feinberg is going to be involved with as well. For workplace protocols, certain things need to be established that will save the employer a significant amount of money while creating better outcomes for an employee in need of services.”

As part of the collaboration, the two firms will work with companies to provide education on substance abuse and offer mitigation strategies and effective treatment options for their employees so they can return to healthy and productive lives.

“We both see that there are things that are possible to help fix the system in which so many people fall through the cracks and aren’t getting the kind of help they need because the system isn’t set up to have it happen,” said Steve Feldman, chief operating officer of Feinberg. “In a way, both organizations feel like we’re paving a new way.”

Feinberg was founded in 1996 and is accredited by The Joint Commission in the fields of behavioral health and home care.

It has offices in Michigan and Florida and provides care in addiction and mental health services, catastrophic services, and Bridgeway Senior Services.

“We’ve been to hundreds of presentations that identify the problems, but what we want to really focus on is how to affect change. This partnership is about answers and not defining problems,”
Feldman said.

Switalski is a former judge and prosecuting attorney. She speaks nationally on substance abuse and mental health issues in the workplace.

Switalski and Feldman said they met through a mutual friend and they agreed to partner up to create something neither of them had seen elsewhere.

“We are engaging organizations, mostly on the executive level right now,” Switalski said. “We look at their employee assistance programs and the offerings they have to create better therapeutic responses to issues in the workplace.”

One area where the Switalski and Feldman will be busy addressing is policies regarding the legalization of marijuana in many states including Michigan.

“Everybody is taking a look at how marijuana is going to impact the employer and what employer rights are. We’re seeing case law shift all over the country,” Switalski said. “Policies are outdated.

They never could have possibly contemplated the impact of legal prescribed substances in the workplace. Everyone has to engage on the front end in order to create truly systemic change.”