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Addiction-Related Deaths in the Workplace Becoming Alarmingly Common

February 02, 2019

USA- writes that drug addiction in the United States has reached epidemic levels. Deadly overdoses are becoming shockingly common, even in the workplace.*

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2017, 55 people overdosed while in the workplace. Work-related accidents and injuries killed 5,147 people in the United States in 2017 indicating a slight drop from 2016 when 5,190 deaths were recorded. However, work-related fatalities have totaled at more than 5,000 for two years in a row. The president of the American Society of Safety Professionals, Rixio Medina, says that improvements are not happening quickly enough and that too many American workers are sustaining fatal injuries on the job. 

While overall deaths had a slight decline, the rate of workplace drug overdoses increased by 25.3 percent. The rate of these deaths has increased by25 percent or more for the last five years. 

A representative for a Georgia-based consulting firm for workplace safety, Don Martin, stated that the problem would require employers to step out of their traditional roles and address the problem of drug-addicted and substance dependent employees. 

Martin says that the problem is so big that employers are needed to address the issue on a social and political level. Employers are also advised to learn, and train supervisors to learn, the signs of drug addiction in employees. Martin says that disciplinary action is not the best course and that employers should provide insurance policies that cover addiction treatment services. According to experts, “addition is a chronic brain disorder,” and it should be handled with medical treatment, not punishment. 

In a workplace environment, drug addiction can make work-related hazards far riskier. 

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