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Company Tackles Opioid Abuse, Alternative Pain Treatment

Opioid AbuseIn a state where opioid abuse reportedly affects 80 percent of the workforce, Indiana-based engine manufacturing company Cummins Inc. is taking proactive steps to curb opioid misuse among its employees. As a result, opioid prescriptions under the company’s health plan have already decreased by 4 percent.

Opioid Abuse

Thinking ahead for a positive change

The decision followed the discovery of evidence that, in 2012, prescription opioid misuse had become problematic among the plant’s 55,000 employees. So, Cummins Inc. instituted an aggressive approach: They now require job applicants to be tested for opioids, while also offering companywide training programs on opioid abuse.

Because opioids are most often legally prescribed in the form of painkillers like OxyContin, testing positive will not necessarily be a fire-able offense. Instead, the offending employee will be moved from any positions that may put their healthy at risk, and will be offered treatment if deemed necessary. In another forward-thinking move, the company launched a health center at their headquarters that provides alternative pain treatment to workers, including massages, acupuncture and physical therapy.

The high cost of opioid addiction 

The Wall Street Journal reported that opioid addiction is costing the country an estimated $78.5 billion a year, according to a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. This includes direct health care costs, lost productivity and costs to the criminal justice system. An additional $14 billion shouldered by health insurers like Medicaid and Medicare. CDC Director Tom Frieden points out that, tragically, opioid abuse can cost thousands of Americans a year more than just their job.

“More than 40 Americans die each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids,” Frieden says. “Families and communities continue to be devastated by the epidemic of prescription opioid overdoses. The rising cost of the epidemic is also a tremendous burden for the health care system.”

The researchers said they hope their findings will lead to better ways to deal with the epidemic.

Taking the first step toward sobriety

As companies nationwide are beginning to realize, opioid addiction is a serious problem that often requires intervention. Contact us now for more information on how you, or someone you love, can recover from the disease of addiction.

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