Opioid Abuse

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Opioid Abuse Safety Talk

It is no secret that opioid abuse in the United States is an epidemic. While these drugs have been a problem for years now there has been a recent national spotlight on the issue. It is important to understand how common this issue is, the side effects of abuse, and how abuse can affect an entire workplace.

Opioid Abuse Statistics

Opioid Abuse Effects

The side effects of opioid abuse are fairly varied and may include:
(source: www.drugabuse.com)

  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Paranoia
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nausea

drugs in the workplaceIt is easy to imagine how opioid abuse and the side effects it brings could have negative effects on the work of those who suffer from addiction. Moreover not only is the person who is under the influence of the drugs at an increased risk for injury or death while at work, but everyone around the worker is as well.

Image the increased risk for injury and death that is present if a single crane operator is under the influence of these drugs. Now what if 100 workers are under the influence of opioids on a 2,000 person construction site?  With today’s prevalence of abuse of these drugs this scenario could be a reality if steps are not taken to screen workers prior to employment and report issues as they arise.

Summary

If you are battling substance abuse issues whether it is opioids or another drug, seek help. There are many programs out there that can help with addiction. Many of these programs are often offered by your employer, union, or public organizations within the community.

If you suspect a coworker is suffering from an addiction problem speak with a supervisor. Opioid abuse is not just their problem when it carries over into the workplace. The side effects these drugs bring with their use can create dangerous situations where many people could be injured or killed on the job.

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