Employers have an important role in promoting the health and safety of employees and managing risks in the workplace. As we are all aware, the use and abuse of opioid painkillers has emerged as a critical issue, reaching beyond the stereotypes of “addicts and drug seekers.“ From 1999 to 2013, the amount of prescription opioids dispensed in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled!

Employing someone impaired by opioids can result in:
– Poor performance
– Increase in health costs
– Possible legal liabilities and increased workers’ compensation expenditures

The National Safety Council proposes a Call to Action to all employers:
– Partner with Insurance, Medical/PBM , and EAP Providers
– Re-evaluate policies and testing for prescription drugs
– Invest in management and employee education
– Increase and ensure confidential access to help and treatment for employees

Employers can certainly play a role in helping address this growing and debilitating epidemic within our society. This widespread issue can no longer be viewed as a challenge solely concerning to the “healthcare industry” as it can impact the workplace in any industry. Considering and adopting some of the recommendations outlined above may prove to be sensible and healthy steps in the right direction in tackling this ever-growing societal problem.