Opioid Epidemic

two workers discussing project

Opioid Epidemic & Employers

We want to help you understand more about opioids and remove the stigma and shame about addiction, treatment and recovery.
two workers discussing project
Opioid Epidemic

The Opioid Epidemic

For more than 200 years, The Hartford has been helping businesses prevail over every type of challenge, from super storms to the Great Depression. Today, there’s a new crisis impacting lives, families and businesses across America. The opioid epidemic is a public health and economic emergency.
Whether you can see its effects or not, the opioid epidemic may be taking its toll on your business.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a group of drugs that include prescription painkillers and illegal drugs, such as heroin. They work by blocking pain signals to the brain and can create a feeling of euphoria or relaxation. Their physical effects on the body make them extremely addictive.

Opioids and the Workforce

The opioid epidemic is affecting companies of all sizes. The employer cost of the opioid epidemic can range from lost productivity to absenteeism. Opioid misuse can cause employees to miss more days of work. It also increases their chance of getting injured when they’re at work. If your employees don’t show up, it costs you time and money to find, hire and train temporary or replacement workers.
Opioids' Impact on Small Business

Opioids’ Impact on Small Business

Small businesses are not immune to the effects of this national crisis. The risk of opioid addiction is still present no matter the size of the business. The Hartford’s Opioids in the Workplace Survey found that 56 percent of small businesses say they are impacted by opioids today or will be in the future. In addition, only one in four employees at small businesses say their employer is very/extremely prepared to address an employee’s opioid addiction.

Opioids and Delayed Recovery

If you have an employee with a work-related injury or illness, their doctor may prescribe opioids to treat their pain. Industry data shows workers’ compensation claims with long-term opioid prescriptions can result in a longer duration of temporary disability.1 Longer duration means higher costs. The Hartford’s data indicates workers’ compensation claim costs are three to four times higher for claimants taking opioids. Disability claim durations are 25 percent longer. This is critically important to employers.
Opioid Misuse

Signs of Opioid Misuse

Only 19 percent employees in The Hartford’s national survey about opioids said they feel very or extremely knowledgeable about how to reduce the risk of opioid addiction, and only 18 percent of employees feel very or extremely confident that they could spot the signs of opioid addiction.
Shatterproof, a nonprofit organization working to reduce stigma associated with addiction, notes there are physical and psychological signs that can help you spot potential misuse of substances, such as opioids. These signs include:
  • Declining performance at work
  • Unexplained changes in attitude
  • Lack of motivation
If you see signs of opioid misuse in an employee, reach out and have a private conversation. Focus the discussion on performance.
Opioids - How You Can Help

How You Can Help

Many U.S. workers have limited knowledge and resources to address addiction, according to The Hartford’s Opioids in the Workplace Survey. One simple thing that you can do as an employer is to provide education and resources about addiction, treatment and recovery.
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