Small Business Accelerator SPECIAL EDITION: The Opioid Crisis

By at 22 September, 2018, 12:32 pm

Tips, Trends and Resources for Entrepreneurs

This week’s roundup of “How To” articles, educational resources and upcoming events, business news and success stories recommended by SBE Council President & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

The Opioid Crisis and Small Business

The U.S. House Small Business Committee recently held a hearing exploring the deep challenges associated with the nation’s opioid crisis, including its impact on labor force participation. As noted by Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH):

“In 2015, an estimated two million workers were not in the labor force due to the opioid epidemic. According to a recent report by the National Safety Council, more than 70 percent of United States employers have been affected by employees’ prescription drug use.”

Obviously, this has created challenges for many small businesses within the workplace and as they search for the employees they need to operate and grow their businesses.

There are many dimensions to solving this difficult issue, including stopping the flow of deadly fentanyl that is pouring into the nation through the U.S. postal system.  That is why SBE Council has been a forceful advocate of the bipartisan “Synthetic Trafficking and Overdose Protection Act” (STOP Act), which passed both the House and Senate.   Following a few more legislative steps, the bill (included within a large package of bills) will soon be delivered to the President’s desk for his signature.  Beyond cutting off the flow of deadly drugs, there is much work being done by the private sector on education and delivering effective treatment. Hundreds of millions of dollars in government resources are being poured into programs and partnerships as well.

This week’s Small Business Accelerator is dedicated to bringing the small business community various resources and information that will help entrepreneurs better understand and deal with the crisis if it impacts your workplace and community, along with how you can be a part of solution to help curb prescription drug abuse and addiction.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO


The Opioid Crisis: Small Business Owners Face a New Challenge

Opioid addiction is not going away, and if it hasn’t affected your company yet, chances are significant that it soon will.

This article addresses key topics such as: recognizing the signs of on-the-job opioid abuse, developing clear and concise policies on drug and alcohol abuse, training programs for employees and management, benefits you may want to offer such as an Employee Assistance Program for employees.

Educating Employees

Help your employees, peers and family members understand more about the safe use, storage and disposal of opioids. All consumers should be familiar with the Rights, Risks and Responsibilities of taking prescription opioids.  Allied Against Opioid Abuse has useful resources for business owners.

Dose of Reality, an initiative to inform, educate and arm employers and employees to stop the losses resulting from prescription drug abuse, offers downloadable employee education resources, such as:

●  A one page handout: Prescription Drug Abuse – Be a Part of the Solution

●  A poster or handout –  Rx Abuse is Preventable – to post in visible locations or common areas within the workplace.

●  Sharable cards: Be a Safe and Responsible Consumer of Prescription Medications

●  Table top cards: Don’t Become a Statistic

●  More information employees need to know:  5 Point Strategy for Becoming a Safe and Critical Consumer of Rx Medications  

Opioid Addiction at Work: What Employers Need to Know covers strategies to help employers address opioid addiction in the workplace and basic steps – proactive and reactive – business owners can take such as: staying focused on employee performance, taking a fresh look at policies and procedures, seeking input before taking action, adopting employee assistance programs (EAP), understanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, being prepared to make reasonable accommodations, and not getting personally involved.

Drug-Free Workplace Toolkit

This toolkit provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAHMSA) provides information to help employers develop and sustain successful drug-free workplace programs. As noted by SAHMSA:  “If you have legal requirements for a drug-free workplace policy and program and comply with those requirements, you will reduce the chances that your organization will experience legal issues. First, you will be meeting the requirements of the law. Second, you will be able to reduce drug-related accidents and the liability issues and lawsuits that can arise from such accidents.”

Opioid Addiction Enters the Workplace

The American Bar Association (ABA) Covers the Legal Angles and Ramifications:

“Employers can and should provide avenues for employees to seek help for opioid addiction, such as employee assistance programs or open-door policies. But sometimes that will not be enough. Supervisors should be educated about the extent of the crisis, the signs of impairment in employees, reasonable accommodation requirements, and the employer’s policies on drug testing and other related issues. Before taking action against an employee, employers should have a legitimate work-related reason to do so, such as poor performance or attendance.”

National Safety Council’s Employer Kit

The free Employer Kit contains:

●  A guide “The Proactive Role Employers Can Take: Opioids in the Workplace”

●  Tools to examine and update your drug free workplace and employee benefit programs

●  Fact sheets and handouts with helpful information to educate your employees

●  5-minute safety talks

●  Poster series focused on home safety and disposal

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Next Event: October 27, 2018  –  10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Join your fellow small business owners, or urge your local business association, to promote and participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Since these days started in the fall of 2010, 9,964,714 pounds (4,982 tons) of prescription drugs have been collected by the DEA.

Click here for year-round collection sites


Join SBE Council today!

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