Employee Drug Use Becoming More Complex

In a recent National Public Radio broadcast following the announcement that legendary rock musician Prince died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a powerful, heroin-like legal opioid, a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) spokesperson called legal opioid use in America an “epidemic.” CDC released the following statistics earlier this year:

  • More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. More than six in 10 accidental drug deaths involve an opioid.
  • Seventy-eight Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
  • Since 1999, the number of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled, yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.
  • Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have also quadrupled since 1999.

Complicating an already dire landscape, employers in states such as Colorado must also consider their approach to pre-employment testing for marijuana, where a relaxed legal status coupled with record-low unemployment combine to make hiring difficult.

MSEC offers drug-testing services and can assist with developing a drug-testing policy. Contact us for details.