From Zero Tolerance to Compassion for Employees Suffering from Addiction

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According to a 2018 survey of human resources executives and other employees conducted by the Hartford Financial Services Group, 67% of employers “know/expect opioid abuse is affecting business” and 64% “feel unprepared to deal with the opioid problem.” While the typical response to an employee suffering from an opioid addiction would be termination, companies like Leidos are creating policy and practice that transitions from “zero tolerance” to prevention, compassion, and even “second chances.”

A recent article in Human Resource Executive explored the efforts of Leidos to better support its employees with (or at risk of) addiction, or with family members with addiction – including taking a closer look at its own prescription drug plan and how refills are handled. Nationwide, also highlighted in the article, is headquarted in Ohio – the state with the second-highest rate of overdoses in the US (as of 2017). Nationwide has taken great strides to prevent opioid use and addiction, including helping to launch the Ohio Opioid Alliance and training its managers to identify and support employees at risk or who already have a drug problem.

With so many hours spent at work, it is essential to look at the role of the workplace in prevention and treatment. The National Safety Council offers an Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit with “sample policies, fact sheets, presentations, 5-minute safety talks, posters, white papers, reports, and videos.” CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provides tools, resources, and data to help employers keep their employees safe and protect their businesses. With the number of drug overdose deaths at work rising, not a minute can be wasted. 

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About the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP)
The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by the White House, represents the technology sector and commerce intermediaries including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Oath, UPS, PayPal, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and .Health. CSIP’s mission is to promote industry best practices as it relates to illegal online pharmacies, and educating consumers about safe purchasing of prescription drugs.