Prescription Drugs BLOG

In a perfect world, drugs would only be used with a doctor's prescription. But even prescription medications are known to cause dependency, especially in America's climate of opioid abuse.

It's very easy for young people to gain access to prescription drugs, especially if living with a family member with a prescription. The question is, what compels young people to abuse prescription medication?

Reasons People Abuse Prescription Drugs

1.    Children are very susceptible to addiction even after using prescription medicine for an accident or injuryPrescription drugs are usually depressants, but some can also be stimulating; both are habit-forming. 

2.   20% of teenagers admit to prescription drug abuse to reduce body weight. Most prescription drugs suppress appetite, leading to a false belief that this is an effective and sustainable weight loss method.

3.    Some teens simply buy prescription drugs on the black market in an effort to feel positive side effects, including euphoria and numbness.

4.   Young people who have difficulty falling or staying asleep may resort to using sleeping pills or painkillers to induce rest.

5.    Teens might abuse prescription medication in an effort to dull strong emotions such as guilt, anger, and frustration. 

6.    Some performance-enhancing prescription drugs can aid in muscle growth, which can be tempting for young athletes looking to become leaner or more athletic.

7.    It's not uncommon for young people to use prescription drugs just to imitate their parents. Kids are ar at risk of mimicking their parents, especially if they're exhibiting addictive behavior.

8.    Adults misuse drugs by taking them as an outlet to escape from severe problems at home caused by a family truce or marital fight.

9.    Silent type teens take drugs to become energetic and self-confident whenever there are night outs and parties. This gives them the confidence they want to talk to others, stand from bullies, and gain more friends despite that it not actually the main purpose of prescription drugs.

10.  Kids usually experiment with drugs. At times, they take it for the purpose of testing its effects. Some combine drugs with alcohol and other substances for more extreme effects. Others place drugs in some other people’s drinks for fun.

UK Drug Misuse and Drug Testing

Drug misuse has long been a problem among teens in the United Kingdom. The government, on the other hand, has put forth on a variety of legal actions to those who are caught to be misusing drugs through the UK drug testing.

Aside from this, what people have actually neglected on misusing drugs is its side effects on overall health. Drug misuse can harm both the physical and mental aspects of a person. There are many ways to detect when a person is misusing drugs. Whether in the workplace or at schools, you can easily detect whether or not a person is misusing drugs. Irritation and aggressiveness are usually the first symptoms noticed after a person misuses drugs. In most cases, symptoms like loss of concentration and confusion can also be noticed especially when kids begin failing at school. People at work may also exhibit poor time-keeping, deterioration in the relationship with co-workers, customers, and management. On the onset of drug misuse, a person may be noticed to have a sudden burst of energy while some may have altered perception on things.

Drug testing kits are one of the tools that also help detect drug abuse, aside from simply depending on its symptoms. Random drug testing is usually done in the workplace or at schools to assess drug misuse among employees and students. Following the new federal cut-off of drug tests, positive subjects may be given medical intervention or chance to recover.

Prescription painkillers are a double-edged sword for many people; when used correctly, they can provide relief and a better quality of life. However, many employers are becoming increasingly concerned about the negative impact of prescription drug abuse in the workplace.

According to this study, prescription drug abuse has become a problem for more than 70 percent of employers in the United States. Yet only 19 percent of those employers felt that they were adequately equipped to handle this problem.

The use and abuse of prescriptions drugs can have a huge impact on the workplace: it lowers employee morale, decreases workplace productivity, and can lead to more accidents and injuries on the job. In many instances, safety can be an issue even if the medications are prescribed legally and are being used as directed by a doctor.

As an employer, you have a right to provide a drug-free workplace for all of your employees to ensure safety and productivity. So what can you do to protect both the interests of the company while still respecting the privacy of employees? As an employer, here are five ways you can handle prescription drug abuse in the workplace:

Employee education

Information is one of the best ways to provide help to your employees. When sharing information about prescription drugs the following should be included:

  • Employees should be informed about how prescription drug abuse can affect their work. Every employee should be clear on the penalties of impairment at work. It can also be helpful to provide job descriptions that employees can share with their medical provider. This will help them determine if a non-opioid prescription drug can be used instead.

  • Employees should understand the risks associated with driving or operating company machinery while using prescription medication.

  • Information should be given about how to safely store, use, and dispose of prescription medications.

  • Make sure employees understand that they should never share prescriptions with family members, friends, or coworkers.

Prescription painkillers can be dangerous because many people can become addicted very quickly without realizing it. Always encourage employees to seek help if they are concerned that they have a problem.

Implement a drug-free workplace policy

Having a clear policy in place is important for both the organization and the employees. Unlike blood alcohol levels, it is difficult to outline what is an unsafe level of impairment with prescription drugs. Your company’s legal counsel and human resources should work together to create a drug-free workplace policy that will include protections for risk management, injury prevention, and liability.

An employee assistance program 

As an employer, it is in your best interest to identify prescription drug abuse and provide a means for employees to seek treatment. An employee assistance program (EAP) is an intervention program created to assist employees in resolving personal problems, like drug addiction, that could be negatively impacting their work performance.

75 percent of companies in the United States provide employee assistance programs because they understand that it helps the company’s bottom line. Replacing an employee costs businesses up to 25 percent of that person’s annual salary. Yet employee assistance programs are grossly underused as only five percent of people with access actually take advantage of them. And 40% of employees are not even aware they have access to an EAP.

If you become concerned about an employee’s performance, make sure that person is aware of their access to an EAP and encourage them to utilize it.

Provide adequate supervisor training

Your supervisors should act as your company’s first line of defense against employee drug abuse. Because supervisors work more closely with your employees they are in a better position to observe a potential problem. Supervisors should be given adequate training on how to communicate with employees about prescription painkillers.

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does protect an employee’s right to use prescription drugs to treat a disability, abusing prescription drugs is considered illegal drug use. Make sure that your supervisors are aware of your company’s drug-free policy and that they are familiar with the signs of prescription drug abuse.

Drug testing

Drug testing is a difficult subject because it is often perceived as being highly intrusive but it can be an invaluable tool in the workplace. Regular drug testing can help prevent drug-related accidents and reduce risks. A drug testing program also instills a fear of getting caught and suffering the associated consequences.

To successfully implement a drug testing program, employers should follow these guidelines:

  • Partner with a lab that is certified by the United States Department of Health.

  • Consult with your company’s legal team to determine testing policies and procedures.

  • Use drug testing procedures that will respect the privacy of every employee.

  • Have a clear policy in place about drug use in the workplace.

  • Make sure every employee knows how the test will be administered and what drugs will be detected.

  • Require all employees to sign an agreement stating that they have read, understand, and agree to the workplace drug-free policy.

  • Document all testing, why it was administered, and how it was performed.

  • Ensure that all employee medical information is kept confidential.

  • Have a consistent policy in place to handle employees who fail the administered test.

Dealing with prescription drug abuse poses a unique problem for many employers. For one thing, unlike many illicit drugs, it’s mere presence does not necessarily indicate an offense. And many employees using prescription medications are protected by the ADA. The ADA restricts an organization from questioning its employees’ use of prescription medication unless they are severely compromising workplace safety or their job performance is impacted.

Prescription painkillers can be powerful forces for healing but unfortunately, when misused, they can also be destructive forces that can lead to addiction and serious health concerns. Prescription drug abuse is not a new problem but employers cannot afford to turn a blind eye to it.

Fortunately, there are many tools available to you as an employer to help you combat this problem. By combining research with tools and advocacy, your company can develop more effective strategies for prevention and treatment.

How to Read a Drug Test Banner