In the U.S., more than 235 people die on an average day as the result of a drug overdose. That’s nearly 10 deaths every hour. Addiction is an issue in every workforce. In fact, 70% of people with substance use disorders are employed, and that’s a conservative estimate.
Research shows 1 in 12 workers deals with an untreated substance use disorder. Impairment impacts job performance and remains one of the driving forces behind recent spikes in crash fatality rates. During the pandemic, many have turned to alcohol and other drugs to cope with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Experts have warned that use of opioids and stimulants are on the rise.
Everyone can play a role in reducing this disturbing national trend, and employers are positioned to lead a safety movement. One way to start: close a gap the National Safety Council identified after conducting a survey:
- 75% of employers said they were directly impacted by employee opioid misuse
- Only 17% felt confident they could address the problem effectively
We can help. Make plans to attend one of our free online sessions – Drug Impairment Training for Texas Employers. These sessions address seven categories of impairment:
- Central nervous system depressants (including sedatives and tranquilizers)
- Central nervous system stimulants (including caffeine)
- Dissociative anesthetics (including drugs that distort sensory perceptions and feelings)
- Narcotic analgesics (including a number of opioids often used to treat pain)
In each DITTE training session, participants are directed to free resources designed to raise awareness of risks associated with impairment and promote safe behaviors. Click here, pick a session and register to attend. We hope to give you the ability to educate your employees and also to recognize and respond to impairment at your location.
Get additional resources from the National Safety Council:
- Watch this video: Can You Spot an Overdose?
- Make use of this free Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit: Fill out this form to get the kit. Inside, you will find sample employee safety policies, safety posters and ready-made safety talks you can deliver to your group.
Substance use disorders result in higher rates of worker absenteeism and lower rates of production. You can calculate the real cost of substance use in your workforce with this tool. You cannot calculate the cost of losing a coworker, friend or loved one to a drug overdose.
Safety is for everyone. So, everyone needs to be for safety. At work, someone is often “in charge” of safety. The truth is everyone plays a role. Safety is a value. And we value people’s lives by making safety our top priority.
– Cindy Leonard is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council