Opioids is Intoxicating the Workplace

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Medical First Aid Emergency Kit for Workplace Trauma

The Rising Opioid Crisis

Author: Jose Zavala

It’s no secret that Opioids has taken the leading role as the culprit antagonist in today’s workforce.  Staggering numbers ratifying the notion that it has crippled today’s workforce, is an understatement that could be shredded by random testing any work-site across America.

During the PBS News Hour Special, “How the opioid crisis decimated the American workforce”, PBS Economics Correspondent, Paul Solman, relayed that, “Sherwin’s Columbiana Boiler Company has lots of demand for galvanized containers, but figures it’s foregone some $200,000 in business because he can’t find skilled, drug-free welders.” Columbiana’s CEO, Michael Sherman’s response?  “We probably lose 20 to 25 percent.”  Adding that this is directly related to eligible candidate’s inability to pass a drug test.

By The Numbers 

Furthermore, in a 2017 press release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the bureau stressed that drug related overdoses in the workforce has been skyrocketing at an alarming rate.  “Overdoses by non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016, a 32-percent hike. Overdose fatalities have elevated by at least 25 percent annually since 2012.”  Most noteworthy, at this rate, we are rapidly marching our way to 300 or more on the job overdoses by 2019.

The LFP (Labor Force Participation) rate in the U.S. topped at 67.3% in early 2000. It has been on a decline ever since, advancing to a 40-year low of 62.4 percent in late 2015. Notably, the LFP rate between men in their prime working age has reached a flooring low.

What We Can Do 

Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council, offered a few key points for us to use as a guide in developing a focused workplace policy.  In their “Prescription Drug Employer Kit”, the NSF touches on many topics.  These are the main ones we found to be the most useful:

  • Learn About the Issue
  • Update your Drug-Free Workplace Program
  • Structure Benefits to Address Opioid Misuse
  • Explore Additional Resources
  • Share the Facts
  • Educate Employees


In conclusion, the truth is opioids and the abuse of them, are here to stay.  As a result, offering help, alongside finding other alternatives to opioid use, is a great starter in the prevention processes.   Likewise, educated employers can be the difference between employees becoming a statistic to addictive drug, or the next raving success story.  Get educated!


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