Why Employers Should Care About Prescription Opioid Abuse

painkillers and opioid abuseAdditional information emerged last week regarding the impact of prescription opioids in the workplace. More specifically, the study focused on the abuse of the drugs, who was most likely to abuse them and how much it cost employers.

The research was conducted and presented by Castlight Health, an employer benefits manager. They found, among other things, that nearly one-third of prescription opoids subsidized by health benefits are abused. The impact of this finding is significant and parallels the statistics surrounding the rise prescription drug addictions and overdose deaths.

“The personal impact that opioid painkiller abuse takes on individuals, their friends, and family is absolutely tragic. This crisis is also having a significant impact on the nation’s employers, both in the form of direct and indirect costs. From higher spending on healthcare, to lost productivity, to the dangers associated with employees abusing medications in the workplace: these are aspects of the crisis that are too often overlooked in the current discussion,” said Kristin Torres Mowat, senior vice president of health plan and strategic data operations at Castlight Health.

The report indicates that opioid abusers cost employers nearly twice as much as non-users, which translates into billions of dollars per year. They also revealed that lower-income populations are more likely to abuse prescription painkillers, as are baby boomers and people who live in Southern states.

There is no place that drug abuse and addiction doesn’t have a negative impact. Its effects seep into every facet of society and requires efforts from many angles to help reverse the current trends. Hopefully this recent information will get more employers to implement better strategies to help their workers avoid opioid dependency. In addition to offering alternative forms of treatment for mild to moderate pain, the prescribing practices of doctors must also be changed.

If you know of someone struggling with an addiction to painkillers or any other substance, contact Desert Cove Recovery today to see how we can help.