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5 things employers should know about prescription painkiller use
Date:7/22/2014

ITASCA, Ill., July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The number of people overdosing from opioid prescription painkillers is staggering, killing 45 people each day. Twenty-three percent of the workforce has misused prescription painkillers, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, making opioid use a serious threat to employee safety. Even when employees are taking opioid painkillers at the correct dosage with a valid prescription, subtle impairment may compromise workplace safety.

Today, the National Safety Council released a guide for employers, The proactive role employers can take: opioids in the workplace, to help companies understand how employee prescription painkiller use or abuse could directly impact business and what employers can do to stem this issue.

There are five things employers should know about prescription painkiller use and how it affects employee safety and the financial security of their business:

  1. Opioid painkillers compromise employee safety. Even after an employee returns to work, he or she could still feel the effects of prescription painkillers. Although an employee may take a legitimately prescribed amount of painkillers, he or she may be too impaired to operate equipment, drive or perform other job duties safely.
  2. Workers prescribed opioids have significantly higher workers' compensation claims. Workers prescribed even one opioid have four times more expensive total claim costs than workers with similar claims who didn't get opioids.[i] Employers and insurers have been held financially accountable for overdose deaths tied to injured workers.[ii]
  3. Employers play an important role in
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SOURCE National Safety Council
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