Opioid abuse is a serious problem in all 50 states. In fact, the misuse of powerful prescription drugs—not to mention illegal street narcotics like heroin—is so rampant that the country essentially has an “opioid crisis” on its hands. Because of the danger that individuals who have been taking opioids pose to themselves and others, drug testing in the workplace has become the norm across multiple industries. How did this crisis start, and what can be done to stop it?
Understanding the Cause
When pharmaceutical manufacturers advised health care providers that their patients would not become addicted to prescription opioids in the late 1990s, physicians took their word for it and began prescribing powerful pain relievers at much higher rates. In the years that followed, however, many patients did develop a dependence and subsequent addiction on the opioids that had been prescribed to them. When their prescription ran out, they were forced to purchase pills illegally or turn to street alternatives—which are often easier to obtain—like heroin.
Combating the Problem
The approach for combating the opioid crisis is two-pronged—treat those who are currently experiencing an opioid addiction and prevent more people from falling victim to the disease. To date, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established five priorities that will help the nation accomplish both.
These include the following:
- Make treatment programs and sober-living homes more accessible to those who need them
- Provide family members of those who experience an opioid addiction with drugs like naloxone to reverse potentially fatal overdoses
- Track the crisis better to understand which areas of the country need the most help
- Fund more research on alternative forms of pain relief and effective ways to treat addiction
- Promote better pain management practices among health care providers
If you need to conduct drug testing in the workplace, turn to Rochester Regional Health Laboratories in New York. For more than 40 years, they have been providing quality lab tests for individuals and businesses throughout the state. In addition to drug testing, they offer STD and various health screening tests. Visit their website to find the location nearest you, or call (800) 525-5227 to schedule drug testing for opioids today.