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Opioid Addiction Growing in the Workplace

Drug and alcohol addiction has grown and expanded all across the country to the point where the crisis is now more prevalent than it ever was before.  The issue has gone on and on with no real sign of it letting up or dropping back anytime soon either.  One of the most concerning aspects of drug and alcohol abuse these days, especially as it pertains to opiate drug abuse, is that it is a huge problem amongst the American workforce.

The issue is quite concerning.  In fact, there was a no less than 300% jump in employees testing positive for prescription narcotics from 2005-2009!  They tested positive whether they were prescribed them or not, showing that the abuse of opiates is now a nation-wide epidemic amongst our workforce.  A November 18, 2010, report by Quest Diagnostics also found that post-accident drug tests are no less than a full 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 obvious.  Vicodin is the most frequently found narcotic prescription drug of abuse by far, but there are many other common ones as well.

The impact of employee drug use (especially opiate drug use) in the nation today is quite severe, to say the least. For example, workers who reported current illicit drug use were statistically speaking a lot 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 truth is that employees who use and abuse drugs cannot hold down their jobs because of their drug use.  In fact, not only is it dangerous to have an employee who abuses drugs and alcohol, it is also simply just more work for them to try to be addicts and employee at the same time.

The problem does not stop with opiate abuse either.  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, and breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in no less than sixteen percent of emergency room patients who were injured at work.

Analyses of workplace fatalities showed that at least about eleven percent of the victims had been drinking, and about five percent 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, and ten percent 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 an 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.  To help them, addiction rehabilitation is there for them.

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