HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Holyoke has agreed to take on a new challenge: taking a compassionate approach with city employees who might be battling a drug problem.

At the request of MassHire Holyoke, Mayor Joshua Garcia has agreed the problem needs to be addressed, not just in Holyoke, but throughout western Massachusetts.

Mayor Garcia told 22News it’s a problem that must be handled with a humane approach.

“Whether you’re an employee that’s struggling with a particular addiction or mental health, or if someone in that person’s household or family,” Mayor Garcia said.

MassHire will sign a similar agreement with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi. MassHire has earlier commitments in the private sector. Half a dozen employers saying they want to create a culture of support for their workers struggling with addiction.