Drug overdose is the leading cause of preventable death for adults age 25 to 64. Sixty people die every day from prescription opioid painkillers, and just one employee with a prescription drug problem can put others at risk for serious injury.
The statistics are sobering:
- Workers with substance use disorders miss nearly 50% more work days than their peers
39% of employers view this as a threat to safety, despite 71% saying they have experienced an issue
- Construction, entertainment, recreation and food service businesses have twice the national average number of employees with substance use disorders
- Healthcare costs for employees who misuse or abuse prescription drugs are three times the costs for an average employee
The Bottom Line – and the Front Line
Substance Use Cost Calculator is a quick way for employers to compute what this drug crisis means to their workforce financially.
But beyond dollars and cents, employers have a responsibility to help employees get into treatment and eliminate the stigma associated with addiction. Employers can:
- Put strong policies in place
- Expand drug testing panels to include opioids
- Train supervisors and employees to spot the signs of drug misuse
- Treat substance use problems as a disease
- Leverage employee assistance programs to help employees return to work
Encouragingly, workers in recovery have lower turnover rates and are less likely to miss work days, less likely to be hospitalized and have fewer doctor visits.
NSC Prescription Drug Employer Kit offers materials that can help employers develop a workplace policy and resources to share with staff. In addition, the NSC Speaker's Bureau includes doctors who can speak to your organization about prescription drug misuse.
Book a presentation.
Doctors Positioned to Reduce Painkiller Misuse
Prescription painkillers are overprescribed, but is the
tide turning? The amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. peaked in 2010 and has been decreasing since, according to a
CDC Vital Signs report.
Physicians can be the leaders in attacking this epidemic by embracing new research on opioids and modifying old prescribing habits.
Two doctors in Ohio are doing just that, with significant results.
- In 12 months, they prescribed 41,850 fewer opioid pills than in the previous 12-month period
- Five Cincinnati-area emergency rooms have adopted their pain treatment protocol, resulting in 23,110 less opioid pills dispensed in just weeks since inception
- Two additional ER's have inquired about following suit
What about Marijuana?
Legalization of marijuana – whether for medical or recreational use – is rolling out across the country. It's having an enormous impact on employers, who now have to ask:
- How is marijuana use impacting safety on the job?
- Can an employee file a discrimination lawsuit if medical marijuana use doesn't align with our organization's drug policy?
- How is legalized marijuana affecting the bottom line?
- What does a defensible drug policy look like today?
Weed and Your Workforce: What you Need to Know; or check out the PowerPoint presentation
Bring Safety Home
Take action against prescription drug overdose in your community. The National Safety Council has put together this
Prescription Drug Community Action Kit that provides strategies to fight drug addiction at the local level. This kit helps identify who should be involved, and includes goals, actions steps and ways to measure success.
With more than 60 people dying every day from opioid pain medications, it's important to expand the dialog and meet people where they live.