Opiate addiction is on the rise in the United States. According to a presentation given to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control in 2014, an estimated 2.1 million Americans were addicted to opioid pain medication in 2012. The number of accidental overdose deaths caused by prescription pain medication has more than quadrupled since 1999. Prescription opiates are responsible for more deaths than heroin or cocaine.
Opiate Addiction Epidemic
Prescription opioids are one of the classes of drugs that are most commonly abused. Opiate addiction has become an epidemic in large part because doctors have become more willing to prescribe painkillers to patients and to allow them to be used for longer periods of time, which increases the risk of addiction. Pharmaceutical companies have been actively promoting the use of pain medication, and it has become more socially acceptable. Almost 207 million prescriptions for opioid medication were written in 2013.
Many people who get addicted to prescription painkillers also become addicted to heroin. People may make the switch to heroin because it is easier and cheaper to obtain than prescription pain medication. Heroin is often combined with other drugs, which increases the risk of overdosing.
Employment Drug Testing
The use of opiates can affect job performance and safety. Employers have the right to conduct drug testing before hiring employees and during the duration of their employment. Drug tests typically check for the presence of illegal substances, such as heroin.
Employers may not be able to check for the presence of prescription opiates because doing so could violate the rights of employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act if they have a valid prescription for the medications. State laws may also vary. If you have questions about federal guidelines and the law in your state, you should consult an attorney.
If you need to conduct pre-employment drug testing to check for the use of illegal drugs, contact DataCheck. We can conduct drug testing for banned substances so that you can have a safe and healthy working environment for your employees and customers. Contact us today to learn more.