Date ArticleType
3/21/2017 Industry Reports
The Employer’s Role in Addressing Opioid Epidemic

 Employers Role - opioid

The Employer’s Role in Addressing Opioid Epidemic

By Melanie Armstrong, RN, BSN, Medical Services Manager for American Mining Insurance Group, a Berkley Company

The statistics are staggering. More than 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to prescription and illicit opioid use since 2000. According to 2015 data from the Centers for Disease Control, 63 percent of deaths from drug overdose involved opioids.

In 2014, more people died from drug overdoses than any previous year on record. In that same year, it was 1.5 times more likely in the United States that someone would die from a drug overdose than in a car crash.

Unfortunately, opioids are commonly prescribed when a worker is injured on the job, making this an issue that also concerns employers and insurance carriers.

Doctors often prescribe opioids when a worker is injured. Meant for short-term relief, medical teams should discuss the prescription plan before the injured worker is at risk for developing dependency. Long term prescribing of opioid medications negatively impacts the injured worker’s overall health condition, safe return to work, and negatively impacts overall family dynamics.

Serious side effects of opioid addiction include: fatigue * muscle weakness * osteoporosis * heart attack * depression * decreased breathing rate * allergic reactions * sleep disturbances and disruption * lethargy * hormone imbalance * sexual dysfunction * problems with intimacy * urinary tract infections * kidney injury * nausea * vomiting * addiction * chronic constipation * slurred speech * social isolation * death.

American Mining Insurance Group (AMIG) takes this crisis very seriously. We have a passionate approach for addressing the prescribing of opioids and limiting the length of disability. We are committed to the employees of our customers and to our customers when an on-the-job injury occurs. Read more about how to tackle the problem in the 2014 whitepaper on the topic.

Learn more about this at the SEAA’s annual convention in April in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Register now.