CDC Urges Employers to Protect Workers from Prescription Opioid Overdose

Published March 29, 2017

An infographic published online by the CDC Foundation draws attention to the challenges employers are facing from the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic in the U.S. According to CDC, more than 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to prescription and illicit opioids since 2000. In 2013 alone, CDC estimates that the cost of lost productivity for Americans with opioid use disorder was $20.4 billion. U.S. employers are contending with the side effects and serious risks associated with opioid misuse, the high cost of prescription opioid abuse, and other harmful effects of opioid misuse on the work force.

CDC’s infographic urges employers to protect employees from prescription opioid overdose by addressing substance use in the workplace, training managers to recognize and respond to pain and opioid misuse issues, educating employees about these issues, reviewing healthcare benefits packages, and learning more about prescription opioid drug overdose policies and interventions.

“Protecting your work force from the misuse and abuse of prescription opioids is linked to preventing worker injury, illness, and overdose,” CDC states. “Chief medical officers and other staff who provide input on clinical care and benefit packages, and those who manage health clinics, can share best practices with employees to help protect their health and safety.”

CDC has also collected resources to help educate employers about how they can help reduce opioid overdoes and encourage non-opioid options for chronic pain management among workers.

The infographic is one of several resources for employers collected in the latest issue of Business Pulse, a publication that focuses on how occupational health and safety issues affect businesses. Previous topics covered in Business Pulse include motor vehicle safety at work, workplace safety and health, and business health.

The CDC Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization established by the U.S. Congress to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.