In recent years, the U.S. has seen physicians take greater caution when it comes to prescription opioids. However, the country has also seen dramatic increases in overdose deaths, which are driven mainly by illegal opioids such as heroin and fentanyl. It’s crucial that businesses understand the risks associated with both prescription and illegal opioid drugs, and the potential impacts to their workforce.
Employers should consider developing a thorough drug policy that is created in collaboration with human resources and legal counsel familiar with local laws. An employer’s drug policy could include the types of drug tests that will be administered, as well as the frequency of employee drug testing.
Partnerships with healthcare and workers’ compensation insurance providers may also deliver programs and insights that can help proactively protect employees and businesses from opioid abuse. For example, through targeted outreach, referrals and escalation, Zurich’s Narcotic and Opioid Review program has helped reduced opioid utilization among injured workers by more than 50 percent.
Our infographic on the epidemic includes opioid abuse statistics, as well as the cost this epidemic has on workers and businesses.