Should employers expand drug testing to prescription drugs? National Safety Council thinks so

called for employers to create workplace drug policies in order to address the increased use of prescription painkillers. The Council studied court cases and research that shows that, by addressing the painkiller problem in advance, employers can reduce worker’s compensation claims and costs, as well as costs associated with addiction and treatment. Many workers who find themselves addicted to opioid painkillers were originally injured while at work, and can find themselves more likely to overdose or become injured again while taking the drugs. Because of problems such as these, worker’s compensation insurance is often required to cover treatment for painkiller addiction, detoxification programs and death benefits should the employee overdose or become involved in a fatal accident while at work. The study showed that worker’s comp claims for addicted employees can be up to 900 percent higher than for workers that do not utilize pain pills. “Employers have a moral and legal responsibility to protect their employees. Addressing the use and abuse of prescription painkillers is as important as identifying drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. The NSC’s recommendations to employers include policies for training supervisors in identifying employees who may be impaired due to prescription painkillers, informing employees about the risks associated with taking these medications, and expanding drug testing to include the opioids commonly found in pain pills.]]>

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