Protect Your Workplace from the Ongoing Opioid Epidemic
Paul Werth Associates
Hope appears to be on the horizon as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be distributed across the United States. The same cannot be said for the ongoing opioid epidemic that has ravaged Ohio, and the rest of the nation, for the better part of a decade. In fact, 2020 brought about some of the darkest days we’ve ever seen in the history of the opioid epidemic.
According to preliminary statistics released by Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz, Franklin County experienced 437 drug overdose deaths during the first six months of 2020 alone. That was a 73.7% increase from the same period in the previous year. The average monthly death rate for overdoses was even worse than what we saw with COVID-19. Once the statistics on overdose deaths are finalized for last year, Dr. Ortiz expects 2020 to be far and beyond the most damaging year that Ohio has ever seen.
Ohioans must recognize the serious threat that substance abuse and addiction has become to our own communities, and work together to protect our loved ones, neighbors and coworkers from falling victim. As we’ve seen, addiction can impact individuals of any age, gender, race or socioeconomic background.
We all can play a role in minimizing someone’s risk in abusing drugs. One study shows that simply talking to kids about the dangers of drugs can reduce their risk of drug abuse by up to 50%. It’s also important for us all to dispose of unused drugs to prevent them from getting into the wrong hands.
Even at the workplace, there are actions businesses can take to protect their employees from potential drug misuse. According to a survey, 75% of Ohio businesses said they have been impacted by the opioid epidemic, but only 17% of those businesses said they felt prepared to deal with potential issues the epidemic could present.
Educating your employees on the seriousness of the epidemic is always the first step to becoming part of the solution. Sharing this short video with your employees or coworkers on the science of addiction and sharing some of the statistics above could also be ways to help your team recognize the seriousness of the epidemic. These are just two steps that are part of an entire Workplace Toolkit that can help protect your coworkers from the dangers of addiction. The toolkit also includes ways to acquire reversal drugs for overdose victims at your place of work, how to purchase drug disposal bags and suggestions on how to implement second chance policies related to drug use.
For more resources on the opioid epidemic, visit dontliveindenial.org.
This message comes from the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance which is comprised of nearly 100 public and private businesses and organizations in Ohio and aims to end the opioid epidemic.
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