More Americans than ever—some 50 million—report suffering from chronic pain and may be taking prescription pain medications. Some of these meds have potentially dangerous side effects. Moreover, more people are becoming addicted and may continue using the drugs even after they’re no longer medically necessary. These realities can have a profound effect on safety in the workplace.
Properly used, prescription medications can help workers recover from illnesses, manage chronic pain, and lead productive lives. However, the misuse and abuse of drugs in the workplace, including legal medications, drive up both employer costs and accident rates. Employers must be aware of and actively work to identify “bad medicine” in the workplace.