2 3 A From the Editor At a time when political divisiveness is the order of the day in America, there is one thing that everyone can agree upon: too many of our citizens – from all walks of life and from all parts of the country – are facing the terrifying realities of the opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 2.1 million Americans currently abuse prescription opioids. In addition to the havoc wreaked upon the families of these unfortunate countrymen and women, the crisis is also taking its toll on the American workforce and the economy at large. In fact, according to the Council of Economic Advisers, the opioid epidem- ic cost the U.S. economy $504 billion in 2015, alone - a number equivalent to 2.8 percent of the country’s total GDP for that year. And last year, a National Safety Council survey found that 29 percent of employers report- ed impaired job performance due to prescription-painkiller use. Similarly, a whopping 70 percent said their work- force had been affected in some way. In addition to issues of safety, productivity, and lost work time, drug addiction is an especially big problem for employers, right now, because a growing number of working-age men and women are simply disappearing from the workforce. The most telling measure of this dire situation is the labor-force participation rate, which measures the percentage of the pop- ulation that is employed or actively looking for work. It now sits around 62.7 percent, and that’s low by histori- cal standards. Unfortunately, in that same National Safety Council study, fewer than 20 percent of employers said that they felt prepared to deal with issues related to addiction. While many employers do have drug policies, the study found that 81 percent of those policies are incom- plete. Fifty-seven percent of employers say they perform drug tests, but out of those, more than 40 percent don’t screen for synthetic opioids like oxyco- done — one of the most widely abused narcotics. Thirty percent of workplaces do not discuss return-to-work proce- dures after completing drug treatment; another 32 percent do not discuss pro- cedures for taking prescription drugs at work; and over 40 percent do not cover making accommodations for employ- ees who become impaired after taking prescription drugs at work. Moreover, 76 percent of companies fail to provide training to identify prescription drug or opioid abuse in the workplace. So, if businesses want to be a part of the solution, both for their own bottom lines, as well as the welfare of their workers, human resource professionals recommend that they do the following: n Educate employees about the dangers of addiction and the harm of drug abuse. n Make sure employees take the ap- propriate time off for medical reasons for surgeries. n Be on the lookout for warning signs of addiction: mood swings, changes in energy level, tardiness, missed days, napping at workstations or in cars, and signs of withdrawal. n Be extra vigilant if employees work in safety-sensitive positions or with heavy or dangerous machinery. n Utilize employee assistance programs (EAPs), which are work- based intervention programs designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal issues. These issues can range frommarital to financial to mental health issues. EAPs can also deal with addiction, and more specifi- cally, opioid addiction. n Communicate treatment options. If treatment is necessary, it is important to educate the worker on options, in- cluding counseling and pharmaceutical treatment. n Ensure any information obtained is confidential and protected. n Integrate employees returning frommedical leave back into the work- place in a positive manner. Al Krulick Editor-in-Chief Editor-in-Chief Al Krulick Associate Editor Lorie Steiner Director of Advertising Lauren Blackwell Research Directors Paul Payne Brendan McElroy Josh Conklin Lisa Curry Joanna Whitney Matthew Mitchell Christian Combes Digital Strategist Scott Mosquera Alyson Casey Director of Administration Creative Director Dana Long Vice President of Business Development Erin O’Donoghue Vice President of Publishing Andre Barefield CGO Alexander Wynne-Jones COO Brian Andersen Executive Publisher / CEO Marcus VandenBrink USA Canada Caribbean Oceania Email for all inquiries: WWW.BUSINESSVIEWMAGAZINE.COM 12559 New Brittany Blvd Fort Myers, 33907 239.220.5554 CONTACT US