Opioid Use Can Occur In Any Workplace
You may think that a problem like opioid use would never happen in your workplace. But, addiction to opioids is now a national epidemic, so it is bound to touch your workplace in some way.
- According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, opioid abuse costs employers approximately $10 Billion from absenteeism and presenteeism alone.
- The National Institute of Health/Drug Abuse estimated that the nonmedical use of opioid pain relievers costs health plans up to $ 72 billion annually.
- The Insurance Journal states that opioid abusers cost employers nearly twice as much in healthcare expenses as non-users.
There are many reasons why leaders of an organization could believe that there are no substance abuse issues in their workplace. Denial on the employer’s part could be part of the problem. Often there is denial going on because the supervisors, managers, and/or HR professionals are not prepared to address the issue and everything that it entails.
Denial is knowing the truth and pushing it away.
But, it could also be because, typically, the user has quite a solid alibi system in place. Their goal is to be a moving target. They will not be pinned down. Therefore, they are rationalizing, justifying, minimizing, blaming, and projecting. Usually an opioid user is very adept at staying under the radar by using these defenses and excuses. Because of their dependence on the drug, the user’s main focus is to use. They do not see how their use of drugs impacts others around them, whether at home or at work. From their perspective, they do not see that it is having an effect on their job performance, or their family, or anyone else. They see it as an isolated issue, that is contained. Nobody is getting hurt. No one notices. It is their secret, they think. Here is where an Employee Assistance Program can help. EAPs can work with the supervisor/manager/HR department in addressing issues that are problematic. We can support the employer in helping them identify and confront job performance issues with the employee. Our clinicians are skilled at helping managers have that difficult conversation with an employee. Even employees who are illusive. The EAP can help you zero in on the performance issues that are impacted by these behaviors.
Addiction to opioids is now a national epidemic, so it is sure to touch your workplace in some way.
The EAP can also work with the employee on their problems that could be causing job deficiencies. Maybe it is opioid use? If so, there are many resources available to the EAP for referrals for treatment. Maybe it is not opioid use. The EAP can work with the employee on any issue that is impacting his work.