Implications of Opioid Use Disorders for Employers

Employers Can Make a Difference

Workplace overdose deaths have increased 536% since 2011 and overdoses are now the cause of nearly one in 11 worker deaths on the job. Opioids are the main cause of these deaths and no employer is immune: all employee demographics, industries and occupations are impacted. Additionally, some of the most frequent occupational injuries involving days away from work – overexertion, bodily reaction, and slips, trips and falls – can result in an opioid prescription. People who take opioids for too long or in doses too large are more at risk of developing an opioid use disorder (OUD) and more likely to die of a drug overdose.

The opioid epidemic can significantly affect workplaces, impacting safety, employee health and wellness, and even an employer’s bottom line. Opioids can impair thinking and reaction time, which can lead to serious errors when performing tasks that require focus, attention to detail or the need to react quickly. 

And while employees in recovery often have lower turnover rates, are less likely to miss work days, less likely to be hospitalized and have fewer doctor visits than their peers, employees with OUDs frequently have increased absenteeism and reduced productivity, which have a significant impact to the bottom line. There are also costs associated with job turnover and re-training, employee dependents, and more.

While employee OUDs can have serious effects on workers and the workplace, employer actions to address them can directly support the safety and wellbeing of their workforce, and even help the organization save on costs. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a recovery-ready workplace.

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