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Opioids and Workplace Recovery

Opioid abuse is an epidemic in America. In 2018, an estimated 10.3 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids, including 9.9 million prescription pain reliever misusers and 808,000 heroin users. Workplaces can aid both people struggling with and recovering from opioid addiction and create work environments that prevent substance abuse and encourage seeking treatment. The current conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly increase some risk factors for both starting and regressing back into opioid addiction.


Policies regarding substance use should be clear and uncomplicated. They should include a list of prohibited substances and behaviors, who is covered by the policy, and disciplinary consequences. Workplaces should provide employees with resources for the treatment of substance misuse and disorders and recovery support, which may be part of a company employee assistance program (EAP) and health insurance. Provide training to managers and workers to overcome misunderstanding and bias against individuals with a substance use disorder.


If you or someone close to you needs help for a substance use disorder, talk to your healthcare provider or call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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