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The pain truth: Prescription drug abuse on the rise at work

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Employee drug abuse continues to be the trend that just won’t go away. And it’s not just illegal drugs causing problems these days.

Drug-testing company Quest Diagnostics estimates that the use of prescription painkillers by American workers and job applicants has increased by 40% since 2005. More than 70% of prescription drug abusers hold jobs, upping the risk of work-related injuries.

It’s such a problem in Florida that the state Society of Interventional Pain Physicians has launched an educational campaign to fight it. The group offers three ways employers can spot and fight drug abuse in the workplace:

  1. Provide materials that will educate employees on the harm of prescription drug abuse.
  2. Make it clear that your policies don’t permit dangerous abuse of prescription drugs in the workplace.
  3. Train supervisors to identify substance-abusing employees. Some tip-offs: increased absences, decreased productivity and involvement in accidents both on and off the job.

Advice: Consult your attorney to make sure your policies don’t run afoul of ADA protections for workers who legitimately need prescription painkillers.

Note: Fifteen states have adopted drug testing laws that allow employers to test and terminate workers based on results.

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