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Your Ultimate Guide to Combatting Opioid Addiction in the Workplace

Your Ultimate Guide to Combatting Opioid Addiction in the Workplace

Opioid addiction has impacted everyone in the United States, from children to parents, government agencies to employers and beyond. The costs of opioid addiction are detrimental; the American Society of Addiction Medicine estimates $10 billion in absenteeism and presenteeism losses for employers alone. Although healthcare policies are taking place to combat opioid addiction, it’s important for CEOs, executives, and upper-level managers to take control of what they can in their workplace, too. As opioid medications become more difficult to obtain or become too costly, employees may be finding other ways to self-medicate. By taking a stand against opioid addiction in the workplace, your employees will have resources to seek help – and will likely save you loss of productivity costs, as well.

A 2017 review published in Benefits Quarterly has identified several ways employers can take a stand:

  • Federal and state public health messages can be carried into the workplace in the form of education and stigma reduction for addiction, mental illness, and seeking help
  • Identification of community resources and collaboration with these organizations can open up the potential to provide addiction and mental health services to employees
  • Additional training can be conducted for managers to teach them how to approach employees who seem in distress so they can refer them to appropriate resources

In combination with strong workplace policies and health benefit programs, companies may find greater employee retention rates. In addition, showing a level of compassion for these individuals could produce greater trust and rapport, leading to more improved employee performance and greater help-seeking by the employee. A company’s environment and culture has a direct affect on employees’ mental and physical wellness, as the workplace is a major component of American living. Opioid addiction adds a level of risk to the workplace, but can be curbed if open communication, education, training, and resources are provided.

Beth Zoller, a legal editor and attorney, suggested for Automatic Data Processing (ADP) the following policies be set in place by employers:

  • Drug-free workplace
  • Regular drug testing
  • Disciplinary outcomes
  • Safe driving regulations
  • Leave of absence procedures

Don’t wait any longer to begin taking a stand against addiction and prescription abuse in the workplace. Even further, be sure to seek help for yourself if you are struggling with addiction or mental illness.

If you haven’t already, speak with someone from a professional treatment center to learn more about programs to best suit your needs. Optimal recovery is possible, and you are not alone in your pursuit for happiness, health, and wellbeing.

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