NSC Poll Says Prescription Drug Abuse Impacts 80 Percent of Indiana Workplaces

Two-thirds of employers believe prescription drugs are bigger problems than illegal drugs. The survey also discovered that only 53 percent of employers have a written policy on using prescription drugs at work, despite 80 percent reporting that they have had an issue.

According to a survey released by the National Safety Council and the Indiana Attorney General's Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, 80 percent of Indiana employers have been impacted by prescription drug misuse and abuse in their workplaces. The survey also found that 64 percent of employers believe prescription drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet are more problematic than illegal drugs.

Drug poisonings have increased fivefold in Indiana since 1999, passing car crashes as the leading cause of injury death among adults. "It is important for employers to understand that the most fatally abused drug today may be sitting in their employees' medicine cabinets," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the council. "Ensuring employees are as safe and healthy as possible should be every employer's highest priority. It is our hope that employers take the lead on this emerging safety threat so our workplaces can be safer than ever before."

Aside from these findings, the survey also discovered that only 53 percent of employers have a written policy on using prescription drugs at work, despite 80 percent reporting that they have had an issue.

"We've seen how the public health crisis of prescription drug abuse is taking a toll on families and communities in Indiana, and this survey shows that It has infiltrated our workplaces, just as it has with so many other facets of our society," said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, creator and co-chair of the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force. "Beyond the loss of productivity, prescription abuse can cause impairment, injury, and may lead employees to bad choices such as theft or embezzlement from the employer. I challenge all Hoosier businesses to recognize the risks and start this conversation in their workplaces to elevate the issue, deter abuse, and create avenues for people to seek help before it's too late."

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