Friday, July 27, 2018

Large Employers Seeing an Increase in Cost to Treat Worker Opioid Misuse

According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Family Foundation, large employers are currently experience a large increase in costs related to treating opioid addiction and overdoses for workers and their families. This comes despite a decrease in opioid prescriptions and overall opioid use being down. The cost of treatment is rising as well, the annual inpatient cost for opioid addiction treatment averaged $16,104 in 2016 up from $5,809 in 2006. "About four in ten people addicted to opioids are covered by private health insurance and Medicaid covers a similarly large share. Despite declining rates of opioid prescribing to those with employer coverage, spending on treatment for opioid addiction and overdose has increased rapidly, potentially tied to growing illicit use and increased awareness of opioid addiction. Opioid addiction and overdose treatment – the bulk of which is for dependents of employees – represents a small but growing share of overall employer health spending," the study states. Read the full study HERE.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Positive Drug Tests Remain at 13-year High for U.S. Worker

After analyzing more than 10 million drug tests, Quest Diagnostics released their annual Drug Testing Index, which revealed that workforce drug positivity is at its highest rate in a decade. 4.2 percent of the combined U.S. workforce tested positive in 2017. These findings also showed increases in cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine use. Marijuana positivity was up the most in states with new legalization statutes. While cocaine and methamphetamine use increased, prescription opiates have seen a decline.

“It’s unfortunate that we mark 30 years of the Drug-Free Workplace Act with clear evidence that drugs continue to invade the country’s workplaces,” Barry Sample, senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics, said in the report. “Not only have declines appeared to have bottomed out, but also in some drug classes and areas of the country drug positivity rates are increasing. These changing patterns and geographical variations may challenge the ability of employers to anticipate the ‘drug of choice’ for their workforce or where to best focus their drug prevention efforts to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.”

Read the Quest Diagnostics report on the findings here.