Opioid misuse: Help is available
Between April 2020 and April 2021, drug overdose deaths in the United States topped 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Opioid use disorder is defined by Johns Hopkins Medicine as a medical condition in which you’re unable to abstain from using opioids, and behaviors centered around opioid use that interfere with daily life. Some common symptoms of opioid misuse are the inability to control your use of the narcotics, weight loss, drowsiness, uncontrollable cravings, changes in sleep habits, isolation from family or friends, and frequent flu-like symptoms.
Opioid use disorders can happen to anyone at any age. If the use of opioids is affecting your life or work, or you think you may have a problem with opioid use, the time to seek help is now.
Who can you talk to?
An employee assistance program representative. If your employer has an EAP, its services are free and confidential, meaning nothing discussed will be shared with your employer. When you talk to a representative, you can get advice on what to do next and get referrals if you need them.
Your doctor. Be honest about your substance misuse or mental health distress and work together to create a treatment plan. If you’re speaking with a health care professional through telehealth services, try to find a place – in your home or elsewhere – where you can talk confidentially.
A company supervisor and/or human resources professional. These employees can work within your employer’s policies to help you get treatment and preserve your job status.
If none of these resources is available to you, or you don’t feel comfortable exploring them, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has an online Treatment Services Locator as well as a 24/7 year-round treatment referral and information hotline at (800) 662-HELP (4357).
Learn more about the opioid crisis at nsc.org/opioids.