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Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace: A Psycho-Educational Approach

Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse in the Workplace: A Psycho-Educational Approach

The opioid crisis has affected everyone in the United States, whether directly or indirectly. Prescription drug abuse has the potential to negatively affect many aspects of a person’s life, including work, school, home, and social areas. According to the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, an estimated 23% of the U.S. workforce has used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons; signs of prescription abuse in the workplace may include abrupt mood swings, failure to maintain work responsibilities, decrease in overall work performance, personality instability, and more. Even when regular doses are taken, prescription medications can affect a person’s ability to perform certain tasks, placing worker safety at risk.

The best approach to take with this would be education – if we can educate the workforce about the dangers of abusing prescription medications, perhaps people can take a more responsible approach. A 2016 study published in the journal Addiction Research & Therapy sought to explore current employee views on learning more about prescription drug problems and tools to manage use. Sixty-eight individuals watched an educational webinar on prescription drug abuse, and twenty-five of those participants completed more in-depth survey responses. Overall the researchers found the following:

  • Approximately 80% of participants were familiar with the problems of prescription drug abuse, and
  • Approximately 90% of participants reported wanting more tools to help with these problems.

Seventy-seven percent of participants found the information from the webinar to improve their current knowledge on prescription use, with 90% of participants wanting to utilize what they’d learned in their content/ideas for work, in their own interest of drug abuse prevention, and in their perspective on how to deal with the risks that prescription drug abuse presents. As an employer, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides many steps that can be taken to promote employee education on prescription drug abuse:

  • Promote a drug-free workplace and emphasizing workplace policies
  • Motivating employees to seek out resources available and utilize tools to help them overcome prescription drug abuse
  • Create a shared sense of responsibility in which employees can take part in holding each other accountable
  • Developing an ongoing process of evaluation in which drug-free policies are reviewed and updated as needed
  • Including the Human Resource Department in providing information to employees

By maintaining open communication and policies surrounding a drug-free workplace, we can promote the mental and physical health of our employees. If you are currently struggling with substance abuse, please speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. Set that example for others in seeking help when it’s needed. It’s never too late, and recovery is possible.

Created by professionals for professionals, our Professionals Treatment Program utilizes industry proven practices for fully restoring professionals back to better health. We serve multiple industries with our specifically catered programs and services, providing life changing care for addiction and co-occurring issues. Call us today to book an appointment: 855-422-4129

References

https://archive.hshsl.umaryland.edu/bitstream/10713/5420/1/workplace-prevention-of-prescription-drug-abuse-pilot-assessment-of-a-newpsychoeducational-program-2155-6105-1000277.pdf

http://www.ndwa.org/prescription-drugs/prescription-drug-abuse-and-the-workplace/

https://www.samhsa.gov/workplace/toolkit/plan-implement-program/prepare-workplace

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