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Fast facts about opioid addiction in the workplace

The New York Times reports on the stunning cost of overdose in the workplace:

Seventy percent of employers reported that their businesses had been affected by prescription drug abuse, including absenteeism, positive drug tests, injuries, accidents and overdoses.

  • Who has the highest rate of pain med and opioid misuse? It’s the entertainment, recreation and food business, followed by the construction industry.
  • About 1.3 percent of construction workers are thought to be addicted to opioids. That's almost twice the addiction rate of all working adults.
  • Interviews with over 500 managers at businesses with 50 or more employees found that fewer than one in five companies felt extremely well-prepared to combat the opioid crisis.
  • Large employers treating opioid abuse and overdoses spent $2.6 billion in 2016, up from $300 million 12 years earlier. Those numbers do not include the cost of lost productivity.
  • Workers who misuse pain medication miss almost three times as many days of work a year (29 days a year, compared with 10.5 days for other employees.)
  • An increasing number of union contractors now provide the opioid overdose antidote Narcan on job sites.
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