Posts Tagged ‘Drug Abuse’

Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

More than 70% of US employers are feeling the direct impact of prescription drug misuse in their workplaces, according to a survey released by the National Safety Council. The survey also found that although 71 percent of employers agree that prescription drug misuse is a disease that requires treatment, 65 percent feel it is a justifiable reason to fire an employee.

“Employers must understand that the most dangerously misused drug today may be sitting in employees’ medicine cabinets,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president, and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Even when they are taken as prescribed, prescription drugs and opioids can impair workers and create hazards on the job. We hope these findings prompt employers to take the lead on this emerging issue so that workplaces can be as safe as possible.”

Drug poisonings, largely from opioid painkillers, now eclipse car crashes as the leading cause of preventable death among adults. Nearly half of Americans are personally impacted by prescription drug addiction, with 44 percent knowing someone who is addicted to a prescription pain reliever. Seventy-five percent of those struggling with a substance use disorder are in the workforce, revealing a hidden epidemic that many employers are struggling to address.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Only 19 percent of employers feel ‘extremely prepared’ to deal with prescription drug misuse in the workplace.
  • Although just 13 percent are ‘very confident’ that employees can spot the signs of misuse, 76 percent do not offer training to help close that knowledge gap.
  • 81 percent of respondents’ policies are lacking at least one critical element of an effective drug-free workplace program.
  • Just 57 percent are drug testing all employees. Of those employers who conduct drug testing, 41 percent are not testing for synthetic opioids.
  • 88 percent are interested in their insurer covering alternatives to pain relief treatment so that employees can avoid taking opioids, and nearly 60 percent believe the insurance company will be responsive. However, 30 percent of those employers will not act on that interest.
  • Encouragingly, 70 percent would like to help employees who are struggling with prescription drug misuse return to their positions after completing treatment.

The Council provides a free Prescription Drug Employer Kit to help employers establish policies and manage opioid use at work. For resources and information about prescription drug abuse both in the workplace and at home, visit here.

CAI delivers HR, compliance, and people development solutions to 1,100+ NC companies to help them build engaged, well-managed and low-risk workplaces. Contact us to find out how we can help your company.

Source: National Safety Council

Doug Blizzard brings a wealth of knowledge to CAI, serving as Vice President of Membership. During his first 15 years at CAI, he led the firm’s consulting and training divisions and counseled hundreds of clients on HR and Employee Relations issues. If he isn’t speaking at North Carolina conferences, teaching classes on Human Resources or consulting clients on EEO and Affirmative Action, Doug is leading the company’s membership services.