Opioid abuse hits the workplace as employees are using and abusing prescription drugs more often. A new survey reveals 70 percent of businesses are saying it’s affecting their workers.
The survey from the National Safety Council also found that while 71 percent of employers believe that abuse of opioid abuse is a disease that requires treatment, 65 percent also consider it a justifiable reason to fire a worker.
The medicine cabinet is the source from where most of these drugs are coming from. Prescribed prescription drugs and opioids can impair workers and create hazards in safety sensitive areas in the workplace. Even when taken as prescribed, impairment is a consideration and employees should not be allowed to drive or operate machinery.
These findings should make employers stand up and realize that as opioid abuse hits the workplace it hits their business in so many ways.
The report showed that employers do not understand the implications of opioid abuse and have a long way to go. Only 19 percent of employers said they felt “prepared” to deal with prescription drug abuse in their workplace. 76 percent of employers do not offer training on the topic at all.
Of all the companies consulted, only 57 percent of employers said all employees underwent drug testing but nearly half of them didn’t test for synthetic opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.
Opioid abuse hits the workplace in many ways and has many knock on effects. Absenteeism, lower productivity, theft and accidents that effect other employees. Did you know that the USA is currently in the throes of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Six out of 10 overdose deaths involve opioid drugs and 91 die every day from opioid or heroin abuse, and this is just in America.
Opioid abuse hits the workplace
What effective steps can you take as an employer to protect your employees? The report found that 81 percent of employer’s policies lack at least one major element of an effective drug-free workplace program. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has some useful information and a toolkit to help with your drug free workplace policy.
As opioid abuse hits the workplace, the next thing to consider is drug testing your employees on a random basis and when there is reasonable suspicion. Prior to employment, you should always test that candidate for drugs. Here is a list of drug test kits that detect synthetic opioids and are suitable for use in the workplace.
Employers, its time to take action and protect your business and your employees from drugs.
On a positive note, 70 percent of employers did say they would help workers struggling with prescription drug abuse return to their jobs after completing treatment.
Here is a list of drug tests that detect opioids suitable for workplace testing.
References: National Safety Council