Over 60% of Indiana employers believe misuse of prescription opioid drugs is a bigger workplace problem than use of illegal drugs, according to a survey of 200 Indiana employers conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC) and the Indiana Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force. The survey was designed to identify current employer attitudes and behaviors on prescription drug policies and procedures in the workplace, and is the first of its kind in the nation, indicates the NSC news release. The survey also found that 80% of Indiana employers reported experiencing an issue with prescription drugs in the workplace. The findings also reveal that just over half of employers (53%) have written policies addressing the use of prescription drugs at work. Although the majority of Indiana employers (87%) conduct drug tests, only 52% screen for synthetic opioids, according to the results from the survey (PDF).
Further, the survey results indicate that over 60% of employers are not confident that their staff can correctly identify behavior that is a warning sign of misuse or abuse of prescription medication. Currently, less than 30% of organizations offer employee training on the use of prescription drugs in the workplace, as indicated in the survey results.
To help protect workers, NSC recommends employers screen for opioid painkillers in drug tests, and train staff on how to recognize signs of misuse. The NSC poll will be used as a model for other states interested in addressing prescription drug abuse in the workplace. Additional information and resources about prescription drug abuse in Indiana are available at www.BitterPill.in.gov.