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Opioid Abuse Costs Employers Billions

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If you’re on this website, you know that opioid abuse is a serious problem. Not only for the addicts themselves but for families and employers. Just how big of a problem is it for employers? A December survey conducted by the National Safety Council found that 80 percent of employers in Indiana say they’ve observed an issue with painkillers among their employees.

  • 60 percent say they’ve observed an issue with the use of painkillers at work.
  • 75 percent of employers say it’s a fireable offense.
  • 64 percent say it’s a problem bigger than illegal drugs.
  • Despite that, only 13 percent of workplaces screen for painkiller use.

In the study, researchers write: “The costs of prescription opioid abuse represent a substantial and growing economic burden for the society. The increasing prevalence of abuse suggests an even greater societal burden in the future.”

A recent study in Pain Medicine found that abuse cost American employers $25 billion in 2009.

For employers, it is likely more expensive now. The best way for an employer to minimize the damage is to keep an open line of communication with employees about the use of painkillers, even those prescribed by a doctor, at the workplace.  It starts with the clear communication of your drug policy and is enforced by a drug screening program that includes opioid painkillers. If you need more information about how to craft a comprehensive drug policy or to include opioid screening in your workplace, contact us. 

Read more in Yahoo Health.