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Prescription Drug Misuse Hits 70% of American Workplaces

Douglas A. McIntyre

Prescription drug misuse has spread so much that it is a problem in over 70% of American workplaces. This is according a new survey by the National Safety Council.

New data shows, according to the organization:

The survey, the first of its kind in the nation ... found that although 71% of employers agree that prescription drug misuse is a disease that requires treatment, 65% feel it is a justifiable reason to fire an employee.

It offers more data to show the extent of the trouble:

Drug poisonings, largely from opioid painkillers, now eclipse car crashes as the leading cause of preventable death among adults. Nearly half of Americans are personally impacted by prescription drug addiction, with 44% knowing someone who is addicted to a prescription pain reliever. Seventy-five percent of those struggling with a substance use disorder are in the workforce, revealing a hidden epidemic that many employers are struggling to address.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that the "economic burden" nationwide for prescription opioid abuse has reached $75.8 billion per annum.

CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD commented:

More than 40 Americans die each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids. Families and communities continue to be devastated by the epidemic of prescription opioid overdoses.

The death figure, by itself, should be an alarm that causes a more robust reaction to the problem than exists now.

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