Dealing With Opioid Addiction In The Workplace

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Dealing With Opioid Addiction In The Workplace

Opioid addiction in the workplace is the Grace Hill training tip of the week.

By Ellen Clark

Around 70 percent of employers, including those in multifamily, have seen some impact of prescription drug use on their workforce according to the National Safety Council.

It’s an alarming trend that has touched just about every aspect of life.

From impaired job performance, work injuries, absenteeism, a decrease in productivity, medical expenses, and arrests, there are many negative side effects of opioid abuse that impact employers and employees.

Remember, if you suspect an employee or coworker has an opioid problem, don’t jump to conclusions.

Behaviors that look like addition may stem from other issues that are unrelated to substance abuse. Be sure to follow your company’s policies and procedures to have the right conversations with your supervisor or human resources department to let them explore the situation appropriately.

6 signs to look for opioid addiction in the workplace

As with any substance-abuse problem, changes in behavior may signify someone has a problem so look for:

  • Periodic short absences
  • Increase in frequency of absenteeism
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Mood swings
  • Napping at work

 Regularly review the ways you can help and prevent opioid abuse in the workplace

What about workplace drug-testing? Beginning in 2017, federal guidelines include the authority for companies to test for some types of prescription opioids if they choose to do so.

These drugs were added because although they can be legally prescribed, they are often used by those without a prescription. Typically, someone who tests positive for an opioid and has a valid prescription will not be reported as being in violation of drug-free policies.

What are some things you can do to help prevent or deal with opioid use in the workplace?

  • Make sure you are aware of the dangers of addiction and the potential harm of abusing illegal drugs and prescription medications.
  • Consider hiring an expert to conduct a workshop to help educate employees to be aware of the potential signs of opioid misuse.  
  • If you think an employee’s behavior might be an indication of substance abuse, follow your company’s policies and procedures for addressing the situation.
  • Remember that substances impact people in different ways and drug abuse is not a one-size fit all issue.
  • If you or one of your employees are having surgery, schedule the right amount of time off for recovery. Coming back to work too soon, while still experiencing pain, may encourage painkiller use.

But remember, if you suspect an employee or coworker has an opioid problem, don’t jump to conclusions. Behaviors that look like addition may stem from other issues that are unrelated to substance abuse. Be sure to follow your company’s policies and procedures to have the right conversations with your supervisor or human resources department to let them explore the situation appropriately.

Summary

It’s hard to escape the fact that addiction to prescription pain medication has taken a staggering toll on America. Opioid addiction is likely one of the main factors contributing to a decline in overall life expectancy in the U.S, a rare trend in developed countries.

Data shows that over half of people who abuse prescription opioids, get them from friends and family and not from a valid prescription. Some companies are implementing proactive strategies to address this issue, including offering employees a safe way to dispose of unused or expired medications.

Resources:

Recent Grace Hill training tips you may have missed:

7 Ways To Stay Out Of Trouble When Checking Criminal History

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Do You Have A Smoke-Free Policy That Adequately Protects Residents?

How To Handle Suspicious Documentation For Assistance Animals

How A No Pet Policy Can Be Discriminatory

Property Management Cyberattack Risks Overlooked, Underestimated

Do You Know How To Respond To a Sexual Harassment Complaint?

Have You Reviewed Your Criminal Background Checks Policy Lately?

Multifamily Managers And Marijuana: Caught In A Pot Crossfire

Fair Housing Discrimination Against Someone You’ve Never Talked To?

4 Ways To Avoid Screening Pitfalls With Applicants

About the author:

Ellen Clark is the Director of Assessment at Grace Hill.  Her work has spanned the entire learner lifecycle, from elementary school through professional education. She spent over 10 years working with K12 Inc.’s network of online charter schools - measuring learning, developing learning improvement plans using evidence-based strategies, and conducting learning studies. Later, at Kaplan Inc., she worked in the vocational education and job training divisions, improving online, blended and face-to-face training programs, and working directly with business leadership and trainers to improve learner outcomes and job performance. Ellen lives and works in Maryland, where she was born and raised.

About Grace Hill

For nearly two decades, Grace Hill has been developing best-in-class online training courseware and administration solely for the Property Management Industry, designed to help people, teams and companies improve performance and reduce risk.

Dealing With Opioid Addiction In The Workplace

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