Top 5 Ways to Reduce Workplace Drug Risks

Employees returning to work following an injury may find that their treatment regimen contains a risk of its own.  According to the Workers Compensation Research Institute, nearly 80 percent of injured workers receive at least one opioid prescription following an injury. In some states, as many as one in six workers end up using addictive opioid medications for six to 12 months after their injury.

Misuse of opioids not only puts the employee being treated at risk, but coworkers and even your business – but it can be caught and prevented early. Here are five ways to reduce workplace drug risks:

  1. Review treatment protocols to spot potential areas of concern:   You may not be a medical expert, but reviewing claimant’s injury severity, overall health status and medication prescribed may give you vital data that helps inform the bigger picture of a returning employees behavior. 
  2. Work closely with your insurance provider and claims management team: Well-coordinated efforts by you, your insurers or third-party administrators, and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) can all ensure that an injured worker receives the right drug prescription at the right time.
  3. Request as much information as you can:  Knowing as much as possible about  your employee’s medication therapy management as well as  whether they’re sticking to the prescribed plan can alert your claims team to potential issues before they become emergencies . Early medication management has a track record of improving claimant outcomes and reducing costs.
  4. Put in place a review  process for claims , including medication regimens: Reviewing the hard data, including prescribing doctors, injury severity and return-to-work outcomescan help you identify and reinforce best practices and spot potentially troubling trends earlier.
  5. Participate in raising awareness: Communicate with employees the risks associated with long-term opioid prescription use with your employees as a part of your regular safety training and work rules meetings. It could help to open a dialogue that could head off trouble for employees dealing with chronic pain or difficult injury recoveries.