Thursday, March 22, 2018

Ohio Chamber of Commerce takes the lead on fighting addiction at work with launch of its Employer Opioid Toolkit

Nearly 50,000 Americans lost their lives to opioid-related overdoses in 2016. Compare that figure to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which recorded 43,000 deaths during its peak in 1995, or the entire Vietnam war, which saw 58,000 U.S. soldiers die.

Needless to say, our opioid problem is a national epidemic. And, Ohio sits right on the front lines, with the 3rd highest rate of annual opioid-related deaths, trailing only West Virginia and New Hampshire.

My state, however, is not taking this problem sitting down. Last week, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce launched its Employer Opioid Toolkit.

The free online course—entitled, A Dose of Reality for Employers—is a five-module overview of the legal and operational issues facing employers when handling an employee’s use of opioids.

The 13- to 16-minute modules cover—
  • The impact of opioids in the workplace;
  • Legally-sound drug-free workplace programs;
  • Crafting a workplace drug policy that right for your operations and culture;
  • The why, when, and how of workplace drug testing; and
  • Responding to an employee’s harmful use of drugs.

According to Andrew Doehrel, President & CEO of the Ohio Chamber:
The workplace is a powerful place to both prevent and intervene in the harmful use of substances. It is also the ideal environment to arm employees with information and strategies to help keep their children, or those they influence, drug-free. With these tools, operating a comprehensive drug-free workplace program can increase safety, decrease liability, protect an organization’s reputation and profitability. 

This problem is not going away, and ignoring it will only make it worse. Bravo to my state’s chamber of commerce for taking a stand and doing something about it. Education is great starting point. It’s up to all of us, however, to follow through.