Prescription Painkillers (Opioids)

shutterstock_1685838Prescription opioids are powerful drugs that reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain. This class of medication which includes hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and codeine can also cause drowsiness, confusion, nausea, constipation and breathing problems. In industries where alertness is required, or heavy machinery is operated, it’s important to have policies addressing the use and potential abuse of this medication. To maintain a safe work environment both the Society for Human Resource Management and the National Safety Council recommends employers to:

  • Re-evaluate your companies drug policy
  • Educate workers about the risks of opioid painkillers
  • Work with insurance carriers to identify inappropriate opioid painkiller prescribing and adopt procedures to manage worker’s opioid use
  • Provide supervisor education focused on identifying impaired employees
  • Expand drug testing programs that include testing for all common opioids
  • Evaluate employee assistance programs and make sure they include access to treatment

Sample Policy

Policy Resources

Additional Resources

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