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Opioids In The Workplace: Steps You Can Take To Manage The Effects Of Use, Combat Addiction, And Limit Legal Liability

About This Course:
Opioids are a powerful class of drug and usage has proven to result in debilitating addictions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose related deaths are up and six out of 10 of the fatalities involve an opioid.

Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the United States has essentially quadrupled while there has not been a change in the amount of pain being reported.

The CDC has characterized the situation as an epidemic, and this crisis is particularly concerning for employers. You have a duty to maintain a working environment that is “free from recognizable hazards, causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employee” under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSHA) general duty clause. Opioid use among your workers could have a serious impact on that environment.

Consider, too, that if an employee is injured on the job, he or she may be prescribed a powerful opioid to manage the pain. The longer the employee is on that medication, the greater the risk of addiction.

So, what can your organization do to minimize the risk of addiction? And what are the steps you should take to enforce your drug use policy without violating the ADA or other federal laws, such as HIPAA?

Join us for a comprehensive webinar on these issues and more. Tess Benham, a National Safety Council’s (NSC) expert on developing, implementing, and evaluating programs to prevent prescription drug overdose and Patricia S. Eyres, a skilled ADA attorney, will explain practical and legal steps you must take to manage the impact of the opioid epidemic on your workplace.

Learning Objectives
  • Revealing insights from a new recent NSC survey on the prevalence of opioid usage
  • The practical impact opioid usage can have worker productivity and safety, and when you have an obligation to take action under OSHA’s general duty clause
  • What to do if an employee appears impaired on the job
  • Strategies for improving your drug free workplace policies, and how to align your benefits programs with such policies
  • How to handle confidentiality and electronic recordkeeping issues concerning HIPAA so you don’t spark legal liabilities for your organization
  • Pointers on managing workers’ compensation claims
  • How to communicate with employees about potential drug abuse
  • When granting family and medical leave may be required as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA
  • Warning signs of a potential opioid addiction
  • Your role as a safety or HR manager in helping addicted workers
About Your Presenters

Tess Benham
Senior Program Manager, Prescription Drug Overdose Initiatives
National Safety Council

Tess Benham has developed programs promoting safety and health in home and community settings. Ms. Benham serves a Certifier for communities seeking designation through the Safe Communities America Initiative. She is also a trained Illinois Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor.


Patricia S. Eyres, Esq.
Managing Partner
Eyres Law Group, LLP

Patricia S. Eyres, Esq., the managing partner of Eyres Law Group, LLP, focuses on helping employers manage disability discrimination issues for both workers’ comp and non-occupational disabilities. As president of Litigation Management & Training Services and CEO/Publisher of Proactive Law Press, LLC, Eyres trains managers and supervisors on how to recognize risks, prevent lawsuits, and maintain defensible documentation.
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