Businesses Can Help Prevent Prescription Painkiller Abuse in Wisconsin

Date: July 19, 2016

Check out these facts and tips for a Dose of Reality.

Businesses Can Help Prevent Prescription Painkiller Abuse in Wisconsin

Last fall, the Department of Justice launched a statewide campaign, called “Dose of Reality,” to spread awareness about the heroin and prescription painkiller abuse epidemic that is spreading across Wisconsin. The first phase of the campaign was directed at teenagers, parents, and medical professionals; the second phase of the campaign is tailored to the business community. With that in mind, Attorney General Brad Schimel presented the “Dose of Reality” campaign to NFIB/WI’s Leadership Council during a recent meeting in Madison.

The business phase of the campaign is focused specifically on how employers can facilitate early intervention of drug abuse in the workplace. “An employer can be a safe place for people to turn to for help or guidance, either for themselves or a family member, and thus can be an opportunity for early intervention,” Schimel told the Leadership Council.

The Dose of Reality campaign website shared some facts for businesses:

  • Employers lose $26 billion per year from consequences of prescription pain medication abuse, including absenteeism, diminished productivity, and lost earnings from premature death.
  • Eighty percent of Wisconsin worker’s compensation pain medication claims involve opioids.
  • Workplace insurers spend $1.4 billion per year on narcotic and opioid painkillers.
  • The overall cost to treat a workplace injury is nine times higher when a narcotic painkiller is prescribed.
  • Four out of five employers have had to deal with opioid prescription addiction and abuse in the workplace.

Dose of Reality recommends employers take the following steps:

  • Evaluate or reevaluate your company’s drug policy.
  • Consider including prescription medications in your company’s drug testing program.
  • Educate employees about the dangers of prescription painkiller use and misuse.
  • Train supervisors and managers about this issue.

To learn more, visit www.DoseOfRealityWI.gov.


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