Toolkit Released for Employers to Address Opioid Misuse and Opioid Use Disorder in the Workplace

Opioids and the Workplace: An Employer Toolkit for Supporting Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery

Employers play an important role in influencing the health and safety of their employees, their families, and the communities they live in. Taking strides to support employees and their families can have a measurable positive impact not only in their lives, but in the success of a business. With the nation in the midst of an opioid crisis, the employer’s role as an agent of change is more important than ever. In the workplace, opioid-related issues are impacting businesses and the safety and well-being of their employees.

Outdated workplace policies and culture can be contributing to stigma and leave current and potential employees fearful of repercussions associated with seeking help. Addressing opioid-related issues in the workplace is new to many employers and finding solutions can be confusing and complex as most employers do not have expertise in this domain. Adding to employer challenges, a behavioral health care system that does not consistently provide high-quality, evidence-based care can exacerbate, rather than alleviate, the problems. In some cases, poor quality addiction treatment can lead to worse outcomes for patients.

As part of the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative’s (KHC) ongoing focus on high value behavioral healthcare and second year of partnership with the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE), the KHC has developed a toolkit to provide recommendations and tools for employers to support their employees and their dependents in prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid misuse and opioid use disorder (OUD). Using this toolkit, employers can expect to learn:

  • What the basics of opioid use and addiction are and how it affects the workplace
  • How to use data to understand the status of opioid use, misuse, and OUD among employees and dependents with healthcare coverage
  • What benefit strategies direct employees to evidence-based care for prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid misuse and OUD
  • How to design workplace policies that protect and support employees and employers and improve workplace culture
  • What legal issues may pertain to addressing substance use in the workplace

The toolkit can be viewed here. Today, approximately 80 employers and other healthcare stakeholders convened to mark the release on this toolkit and discuss the recommendations made and existing goals and challenges that remain. For employers who were unable to join us at this event, the KHC will be offering a complementary webinar on May 15, 2019 from 12 pm to 1 pm. Stay in touch with the KHC for reflections and updates this ongoing initiative.