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Prevalence of Opioid Addiction in the Workplace

The prevalence of opioid addiction in the workplace has expanded all across the country.  In fact, it has reached a point where the crisis is now more pervasive than it ever was before.  The issue has no real sign of it improving anytime soon.  One of the most concerning aspects of opioid abuse is it being such a problem among the American workforce.

The issue is quite concerning.  In fact, there was a 300 percent increase in employees testing positive for prescription narcotics from 2005-2009.  They tested positive whether the drugs were prescribed to the person or not.  Results show that the abuse of opiates is now a nationwide epidemic in our workforce.  A report by Quest Diagnostics in November 2010 also found that post-accident drug tests are less than four times more likely to find narcotics than pre-employment drug tests are, (the percentages are about 3.7% vs. 0.78%).  The correlation is quite evident.  Vicodin is the most frequently found narcotic prescription drug of abuse by far.  But there are many other commonly abused drugs as well.

The impact of employee drug use (especially opiate drug use) in the nation today is severe, to say the least. For example, workers who reported current illicit drug use were more likely to have worked for three or more employers in the past year and to have higher rates of unexcused absence and voluntary turnover in the past year than those who did not report drug use.

The problem does not stop with opiate abuse.  Alcohol is a big issue in the American workforce.  Workers with alcohol problems were about three times more likely than workers without drinking problems to have injury-related absences.

It gets even worse than that.  A hospital emergency department study showed that 35 percent of patients with an occupational injury were at-risk drinkers too.  Breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in no less than sixteen percent of emergency room patients who were injured at work.  Clearly, opioid addiction in the workplace has some dangerous consequences.

Analyses of workplace fatalities showed that at least about eleven percent of the victims had been drinking.  Also, about 5 per cent of them had been doing drugs.  Large federal surveys show that 24% of workers report drinking during the workday at least once in the past year.  Ten percent of workers drink during the workday more than once.

Rehabilitation for Addicted Workers

The best way to address a drug or an alcohol problem is by getting the person who is addicted into and through an inpatient center. Drug and alcohol addiction and dependence treatment center, detox facility, rehab program and recover organization.  These centers by far have the right tools and the keys to recovery that addicts need to beat their habits.

Workers can and should go to an inpatient center.  Per the privacy of medical laws, workers with an addiction are granted amnesty and ability to take a leave of absence from their jobs to seek out rehab.  When they do this, they do not have to disclose exactly where they are going or what they are doing, just that they are taking a leave of absence for medical reasons.  Employers cannot fire them for this reason.  Furthermore, employers can and should help their employees, and are a lot more likely to fire an employee if he or she does not get the help that they so desperately need.

In the end, the future and the life of the Americana addict and worker is more important than their current job.  Such persons can always get another job if necessary. They can’t just get a different life though.  In response to the growing prevalence of opioid addiction in the workplace, addiction treatment facilities are ready to help.

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