The opioid crisis has led to significant challenges for Americans, and employers are not immune. Some have noted the crisis as being one of the greatest challenges currently facing the country. It has been documented that nearly as many Americans (50,000) died of opioid-related overdoses in the last year alone as Americans who died in the Vietnam War. The use of prescription opioids to relieve pain has risen to staggering levels, with sales of prescription painkillers having more than quadrupled since 1999.
A recent study estimated that deaths from opioid abuse are costing employers over $25 billion a year in lost time, productivity and earnings. The increased use – and misuse – of opioids has led to more time lost from work, as well as increased medical costs and workplace injuries. Opioid abuse has also increased public health and criminal justice costs. The level of abuse has tragic consequences across the nation, ravaging communities and tearing families apart.