Business Pulse: Opioid Overdose Epidemic

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CDC WORKS TO PROTECT WORKERS’ HEALTH, PREVENT OPIOID OVERDOSES

The United States is in the midst of an alarming opioid overdose epidemic and U.S. employers are challenged by the epidemic’s toll on their workers. Opioids were involved in the overdose deaths of more than 33,000 Americans in 2015, nearly quadruple the number from the year 2000 and more than any year on record. The estimated lost productivity for people in the United States with opioid use disorder totaled $20.4 billion in 2013.

These statistics highlight the serious challenges businesses face:

  • In 2013, prescription opioid dependence, abuse and overdose cost the United States $78.5 billion. More than one-third of this amount, $29 billion, is due to increased health care and substance abuse treatment costs.
  • In 2011, approximately 25 percent of workers’ compensation prescription drug claim costs were for opioids.

In this issue of Business Pulse, explore what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is doing to inform physicians and individuals about the risks and benefits of prescription opioids to protect workers’ health and prevent opioid overdoses.