Legal Strategies for Economic Empowerment of Persons in Recovery
This essay focuses on legal strategies to expand employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for persons in recovery. The topic is vital because economic wellbeing contributes to "recovery capital" - the internal and external resources that sustain long-term sobriety.' The need for effective legal interventions is particularly acute in Appalachia, which suffers from a disproportionate share of both substance use disorder and economic despair. Part I provides an overview of substance use disorder and the .recovery process. Part II explores the acute impact of substance use disorder in Appalachia and how the region's socioeconomic dynamics impede economic reintegration of persons in recovery. Part III identifies three frequent obstacles to finding employment experienced by persons in recovery: spotty work histories, stigma, and records of criminal justice involvement. Part IV addresses opportunities for policy reform in the areas of employment nondiscrimination, rehabilitative employment, employer tax incentives, risk management, and the employment impact of crimes related to substance use disorder. Part V addresses access to occupational licensing, a crossover concern for individuals interested in entrepreneurship or employment.