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Opioids in the Workplace: Five Action Steps for Employers

Aug 22, 2018 blog featured image

You may already know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average of 115 Americans die daily from opioid overdoses. Certainly, workplaces are not immune to the effects of this drug epidemic.

But knowing about a problem and doing something are two different things. How can you assist employees who may be struggling with addiction? Consider taking these five steps.

1. Educate yourself.
The CDC and state agencies provide a wealth of information about this health crisis. In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse provides state-by-state statistics regarding opioid-related deaths and prescribing levels to help you understand the scope of the problem in your community.

2. Acknowledge the issue.
Start talking about the problem and the resources that are available to help employees or their family members who are in crisis. Based on the statistics, you know someone who is challenged with drug misuse.

3. Analyze your data for warning signs.
Working with your insurance broker, dive into your data to uncover trends and potential warning signs. Pay special attention to workers’ compensation claims, return-to-work statistics, prescription drug program utilization and health plan data.

4. Evaluate your plan.
Is your employee assistance program robust enough to serve as a gateway for those who need help? Does your health plan adequately cover mental health benefits? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” it is time to talk to your benefits adviser about how your plan design can support those with a misuse or abuse disorder.

5. Assess your policies.
Worksite policies should be designed to encourage recovery. While most employers have a drug-testing policy, many are not yet prepared to respond to the opioid crisis in a recovery-friendly way. It may be time for an update.

If you want help assessing your risk or creating a plan to address the problem, we are here to help. Contact your Hylant health strategist or call your local Hylant office and request assistance.

Download the Risk Assessment Scorecard

Risk Assessment Scorecard

Opioid abuse kills 115 Americans every day and costs employers an estimated $18 billion annually. Use this scorecard to evaluate the risk opioids present for your organization.
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