Creating goals in the drug-free workplace

We all have heard that old adage, “No pain, no gain.” It comes to mind now while reading about “how employers can protect injured workers while decreasing their liability,” and looking at Family Recovery Center’s Drug-Free Workplace program.

According to a National Safety Council report, “A Washington State Department of Labor and Industries study found that receiving more than a one-week supply of opioids soon after an injury doubles a worker’s risk of disability one year later. In addition, opioid pain medication use can lead to more serious harm to workers addiction, overdose and death.”

The report documents that in 2013, there were 43,900 deaths due to drug overdoses with 16,235 tied to prescription drug opioids alone or mixed with other prescription medications or alcohol. More deaths are from prescription opioids than heroin and cocaine combined.

What increases the risk of overdose from opioids?

Taking high doses or taking for a longer period of time.

Taking multiple forms or mixing with alcohol, anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants or sleeping pills.

Sleep apnea, heart failure, obesity, COPD or respiratory conditions.

Injured workers are twice as likely to develop depression. At least one-third of American adults are obese. Sleep apnea affects about 26 percent of people ages 30-70. There are more than 12 million people with COPD across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Many local employers say it is a challenge to find workers who are free of drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse problems have surfaced as employers report an increase in the number of job applicants who have failed pre-employment drug tests. But even pre-employment isn’t enough because job seekers “clean up” enough to pass the tests, then continue substance abuse after they are hired.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that nearly 75 percent of all illicit drug users and most heavy alcohol users are employed full or part time resulting in major costs to business as they try to recruit and keep competent employees. Absenteeism, lower productivity, higher worker’s compensation costs, more accidents and employee theft all cause significant costs to a business. American businesses lose up to $100 billion a year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

How does all of this affect employers?

“the courts agreed that when injured workers fatally overdose on medications prescribed to treat pain related to a compensable workplace injury, these deaths are compensable by the worker’s compensation program. Further, these overdose deaths may be compensable in situations when the medication is not taken as prescribed, taken with alcohol or inappropriately prescribed.”

So, if you are an employer and desire to provide a safe workplace environment and you are interested in the well being of your employees, you may want to look at Family Recovery Center’s drug-free workplace program, “Drug-Free Workplace Solutions.” Workshops provide employee education, supervisor training, alcohol and other drug testing and employee assistance.

Drug-Free Workplace provides site trainings for employees and supervisors and meets the requirements for the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation. This training qualifies your business for discounts.

The Employee Assistance training helps the business to identify and help employees who are experiencing difficulties that have a negative impact on the business. Goals include preventing workplace violence and providing intervention.

For more information about how Family Recovery Center can assist you with Drug-Free Workplace Solutions contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, info@familyrecovery.org.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues. FRC is funded, in part, by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.


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