Railroaders Program

Alcohol & Drug Addiction Treatment Program For Railroad Workers & Families

Drugs and trains can make for a deadly combination.

In 2016, drug testing revealed that almost 8 percent of workers “involved in rail accidents were positive for drug use, including marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, benzodiazepine, OxyContin and morphine,” according to The Washington Post. Those post-accident drug-positives, the report continued, “was the highest since the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) began keeping records in 1987 and three times greater than it was 10 years ago.”

Addiction and alcoholism can lead to devastation across the vocational spectrum, but when locomotives weighing nearly 200 tons and pulling 5,000 feet of freight are involved, that devastation can be catastrophic. As a result, the FRA and company Employee Assistance Programs throughout the industry hold railroad workers to high standards of safety. To meet those standards, employees with a drug and alcohol problem need the best substance abuse treatment available to them.

That’s where Cornerstone of Recovery can make all the difference.

What Is Cornerstone of Recovery?

We've been helping railroaders return to work since 2000

Cornerstone of Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center was founded in 1989 by Bill Hood, a former Aluminum Company of America executive who found sobriety in 1979 and started his own drug and alcohol rehab 10 years later.

During the facility’s early years, Hood convinced former railroad colleagues from his time as a corporate executive to give his new treatment center an opportunity to provide drug and alcohol rehab for their addicted employees. The results were startling.

EAP representatives found that railroaders who went through the residential inpatient program at Cornerstone returned to work in better health and in an improved state of mind, and with the help of long-term recovery, they often became more proficient at their jobs than their non-addicted colleagues.

As a result, the Railroad Program at Cornerstone of Recovery was officially established in 2000, and today Cornerstone is one of the preferred drug and alcohol treatment center for the majority of rail carriers around the country.

Under the leadership of Railroad Program founder Roger Davis, members of Cornerstone of Recovery’s treatment team began to put together a unique program that addresses the unique nature of employment in the transportation industry. Taking into account shifting work schedules, cross-country travel, rural hubs and the safety protocols, the Railroad Program offers clients a unique opportunity to address vocational concerns that often arise due to addiction and alcoholism.

What Does The Railroad Program Offer?

At Cornerstone, there’s a dedicated Railroad Program point of contact, Jill Burbidge, who works diligently with railroaders and their EAPs to address any concerns that may arise before, during and after treatment. Jill works closely with Cornerstone’s clinical staff to insure that FRA requirements are met during the treatment process, and she works closely with employees to come up with an Aftercare plan that will allow them to put into practice recover tools that will help them stay sober once they leave treatment and return to work.

“We also acknowledge that some employees are self-referrals, and we work with them just as diligently as we do those employees who have tested positive on the job,” Jill says. “At Cornerstone, we recognize that admitting you have a problem and are powerless to stop on your own is the first step in getting the help you not only need but that you deserve.”

Treatment for railroad clients begins with safe, medically supervised detox from drugs and alcohol, followed by admission to one of our four primary programs:

  • The Newcomer’s Program for those coming to drug and alcohol treatment for the first time;
  • The Young Adult Program for men ages 18 to 26;
  • The Recovery Renewal Program for those who have been to treatment previously but have been unable to achieve long-term sobriety; and
  • The Women’s Program, specifically for female patients.

In addition to group therapy, one-on-one counseling, educational lectures and more, the Railroad Program includes regular meetings specifically for railroaders, which offers peer support with others from within the industry. At Cornerstone, we also offer psychiatric evaluations to help determine if there are any co-occurring mental health disorders that may precede or be precipitated by drug and alcohol abuse, such as depression or PTSD.

Often, by addressing those underlying and overlying issues, we help patients overcome the desire to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and help them come to a greater understanding about ways to treat those conditions effectively and safely.

In addition, the staff at Cornerstone will work to complete and submit all of a patient’s Railroad Retirement Benefits (RRB) and supplemental insurance paperwork while they are in treatment, so that, if eligible, they can continue to get a paycheck while they’re here. Finally, the Cornerstone treatment team will work closely with a patient’s EAP and/or SAP so that those patients can return to work as quickly and safely as possible.

Why Us?

At Cornerstone of Recovery, we recognize that your career as a railroader is as much a part of your identity as it is a means to a paycheck. You’re part of a fraternity of brothers and sisters who work in a little-understood and largely unappreciated industry, and the demands and pressures of that job can sometimes lead to a problem with alcohol and drugs.

That problem doesn’t have to be the end of your career. Here, as part of our Railroad Program, you’ll find an understanding community of peers and professionals that will work diligently and tirelessly to get you back on your feet, and back on the tracks, as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Railroad Program Director

As Director of the Railroad Program at Cornerstone of Recovery, Jill Burbidge serves as a living example of the power of transformation. As a member of the recovering community herself, Jill has an intimate understanding of the nature of addiction and alcoholism, and her knowledge and compassion helps those who come to Cornerstone for treatment find the empathy and support they need to get better.

When “railroaders,” as they’re known in the industry, come to Cornerstone for residential addiction treatment, Jill acts as a liaison between the companies for which they work and the combination of therapists and clinicians that introduce them to a new way of life. She helps monitor their progress, stays in constant communication with their Employee Assistance Program coordinators and sets a living example of the power of recovery: that anyone can stop using, lose the desire to use and find a new way to live. Learn more about Jill and her incredible journey here.


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