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Itasca, IL – Seventy-five percent of U.S. employers have been directly affected by opioids but – startlingly – only 17% feel extremely well prepared to deal with the issue, according to a survey released by the National Safety Council in recognition of Poison Prevention Week. Thirty-eight percent have experienced absenteeism or impaired worker performance, and 31% have had an overdose, arrest, a near-miss or an injury because of employee opioid use.
“The opioid crisis is truly encompassing nearly every aspect of American lives. Today’s survey confirms that the No. 1 cause of preventable death is not just taking its toll on our home lives, but companies across the country are also grappling with the impact of this epidemic,” said Nick Smith, interim president and CEO of NSC. “If there is a silver lining, it’s that we have an opportunity to gain the attention and resources of American businesses to combat this societal scourge. NSC is committed to working with employers to define best practices and support a two-pronged approach of confronting the crisis in our homes and workplaces.”
For the first time in U.S. history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from a motor vehicle crash, according to NSC calculations. In fact, workplace overdose deaths involving drugs or alcohol have increased by at least 25% for five consecutive years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Other key findings from the survey include:
NSC provides a free Prescription Drug Employer Kit to help employers manage opioid use at work. Based on additional survey results, NSC intends to add components to the kit, including a robust workplace policy.
A copy of the survey questionnaire and full methodology is available here. For additional resources and information about drug misuse in the workplace, visit nsc.org/drugsatwork.
About the National Safety Council The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.
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