More than 70% of workplaces affected by prescription drug misuse, NSC survey shows


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More than 70 percent of employers reported that prescription drug misuse is having an impact on their workplace, according to the results of a survey recently conducted by the National Safety Council. In addition, 71 percent of employers agreed that prescription drug misuse is a disease, but 65 percent of those employers reported that they would fire someone who has a drug problem.

Other findings:

  • 81 percent of participants’ policies lack at least one critical element of an effective drug-free workplace program.
  • 76 percent do not offer training to help spot the signs of misuse.
  • 70 percent would like to help employees return to work after receiving treatment for drug misuse.
  • 57 percent drug-test all employees.
  • 19 percent of employers feel “extremely prepared” to deal with prescription drug misuse in the workplace.

“Employers must understand that the most fatally misused drug today may be sitting in employees’ medicine cabinets,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of NSC, said in a press release. “Even when they are taken as prescribed, prescription drugs and opioids can impair workers and create hazards on the job. We hope these findings prompt employers to take the lead on this emerging issue so that our workplaces can be as safe as possible.”

To combat this growing issue, NSC offers a free Prescription Drug Employer Kit to help employers establish policies and manage opioid use among workers. More resources and information about prescription drug misuse both in the workplace and at home are available on the NSC website.