Employers Should Take Note Of Subtle Indicators Of Opiate Abuse

Health & Medical Blog

The number of opiate addicts has reached alarming proportions. Roughly 2.1 million people abuse opioids in the United States with the overwhelming majority procuring their drugs in the form of prescription pills. Despite taking large doses of pills daily, opioid abusers can become functional addicts. Still, cognitive function is impaired due to effect of drugs on the mind. In the workplace, due to liability concerns, testing those suspected of opioid problems is advised. Not all the signs are obvious so employers have to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior warranting a drug test.

In particular, two minimum steps should be taken:

  • Look for Withdrawal Symptoms

Signs someone is high on drugs are what most look for. A person under the influence of an opiate may never leave any hints of drug use. The signs someone has ceased drug use—a possibility if the person is short on funds and cannot buy more pills—and is experiencing withdrawal are hard to hide. Someone who displays flu-like symptoms and stomach distress problems such as diarrhea and vomiting once may just be sick. If the person has repeats of these issues, the condition could be related to underlying substance abuse.

  • Be Alert to Detoxing Attempts

Fearful of being tested, drug users may rely on natural products known for flushing out toxins. While not perfect, these substances may increase the chances of passing a drug test. Green tea is noted as a common ingredient in detox stacks, but many will simply drink plain green tea in large quantities. In order to hide the flushing of drugs via liquids, the employee may take high volumes of vitamin C. Become familiar with the substances people use to pass drug tests and then be ever alert for their unusual appearance. An employee who never drank hot green tea before who starts drink a half-dozen cups before lunch may have a motive behind the tea binge.

If serious suspicions about opiate use arise, sending the employee for a drug test is probably justified. The drug test alone, however, may not end the matter.

Referring the Employee to a Company Doctor

An employee who tests positive for an opiate and has a legal prescription for the drug raises another question. Is the prescription valid? The prescription might be valid, but the issuance of the prescription may have come from an unethical physician. Companies should consider sending such an employee to an approved doctor to determine the true legitimacy of the prescription. Such a step is not excessive if the employer wants to be 100% sure of maintaining a drug-free work environment.


23 September 2016

Outstanding In-Home Care

When my mother fell at home and broke her hip, we all thought that we were going to have no choice to put her in a nursing home when she got out of the hospital. My mother had always asked us kids to avoid putting her in any kind of home, but we didn’t know what else we could do. None of us were capable of giving her the kind of rehabilitation and care that she needed. Then her doctor suggested that we find out if her insurance covered in-home care. I didn’t even know that that was an option. I was pleased to discover that in-home care was covered by her plan. Now she gets great care from nurses and nurse assistants that come right to her in her home, where she wants to be. It’s a great option, and I’m so glad we have it.