NSC: 75% of Employers Say Their Workplace Is Impacted by Opioid Use
Seventy-five percent of U.S. employers have been directly affected by opioids but – startlingly – only 17% feel extremely well prepared to deal with the issue, according to a survey released by the National Safety Council in recognition of Poison Prevention Week. Thirty-eight percent have experienced absenteeism or impaired worker performance, and 31% have had an overdose, arrest, a near-miss or an injury because of employee opioid use.
For the first time in U.S. history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from a motor vehicle crash, according to NSC calculations. In fact, workplace overdose deaths involving drugs or alcohol have increased by at least 25% for five consecutive years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Key Survey Findings Include:
- 38% of respondents have seen absenteeism or impaired performance at their sites due to opioid use
- 31% experienced a near-miss/injury, overdose or arrest
- 14% saw borrowing or selling opioids at work
- 79% are not very confident that individual employees can spot warning signs of opioid misuse
- 86% of employers believe taking opioids even as prescribed can impair job performance, yet only 60% have policies in place requiring employees to notify their employer when they are using a prescription opioid.
- Only half of employers are very confident that they have the appropriate HR policies and resources to deal with opioid use and misuse in the workplace.
- 41% of employers would return an employee to work after he or she receives treatment for misusing prescription opioids.
The data come from a survey of 526 employers across the US, all with 50 to more than 1K employees in industrial, public and social services, professional, retail/wholesale and other industries.
NSC provides a free Prescription Drug Employer Kit to help employers manage opioid use at work. Based on survey results, NSC intends to add components to the kit, including a robust workplace policy.
Get More Information on Drugs in the Workplace:
- Download survey details (pdf).
- Request the NSC Prescription drug Employer Kit.
- Learn about drug-free workplace programs from the US Dept. of Health – SAMHSA.
- Browse drug-free work area signs.
Drug Testing Works
Any drugs can compromise workplace safety. A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse says employees who tested positive for marijuana had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries and 75% greater absenteeism compared to those who tested negative. NSC studies show employees are three times less likely to produce a positive test result if they know they will be tested. An expanded testing panel that includes the most commonly abused prescription drugs may better protect your workforce.