The prescription drug epidemic is taking its toll on the workplace, according to 200 Indiana businesses who recently participated in a survey, wishtv.com reports. Of those 200 companies, some 80 percent reported prescription medication abuse, including opioid painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin, the story says. And yet, only half of those companies have policies on using prescription meds at work, despite "two-thirds of the companies saying they consider prescription medications a bigger problem than illegal drugs, and about one-third saying they've had a worker injured or nearly injured in accidents tied to prescription drug abuse or misuse," it reports.
What's truly scary is that this kind of abuse can lead to workplace errors, or worse, on the job accidents. Many times those taking the pills do not know there is a warning against operating heavy machinery while under the pills' influence. Many of the companies admit to drug testing but only half of the 87 percent say they test for synthetic opioids.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said "This widespread addiction and abuse has now permeated every facet of our society," admitting that Indiana is just another one of the heartland states affected by heroin and opioid abuse. But what can be done? Treatment programs, counseling and policies regarding prescription drugs in the workplace must be put into play.
Indiana marks the first state the National Safety Council has conducted this type of poll. It will be used as a model or other states, as the issue with the prescription drug epidemic is sweeping across the nation, and impacting even the workplace.
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