Skip to Content

America’s Opioid Epidemic and the Workplace

As it gains more and more notoriety, America’s opioid epidemic is impossible to ignore. Several states have already declared a state of emergency to address the problem more effectively. While the stereotype of addiction is that it only plagues lower socioeconomic classes, the problem cuts across all demographics and professions.

The author of a recent New York Times article investigated a successful attorney who appeared to lead a healthy life, until he fatally overdosed on opioids. Though the article focuses on lawyers, many cited sources also discuss the prominence of prescription drug abuse among other white-collar industries. In short, workers in every profession are vulnerable to addiction issues, including professional services.

Insurers, regulators, and healthcare providers are now working to identify the current system’s failures and potential solutions, but employers can take action as well. The role of the employer is not to accuse individuals of opioid abuse, but to identify abnormal behavior and connect affected individuals  with available resources. These resources can include human resources, an employee assistance plan, or a qualified healthcare provider. The problem is complicated and larger than previously assumed, but employers can intervene and help their people before tragedy strikes. Call an experienced employee benefits broker to discuss strategies your organization can implement to fight opioid addiction.

The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Parker, Smith & Feek. While every effort has been taken in compiling this information to ensure that its contents are totally accurate, neither the publisher nor the author can accept liability for any inaccuracies or changed circumstances of any information herein or for the consequences of any reliance placed upon it.

Return to Blog index