There has been a huge increase in the number of employees taking prescription opiates, like Oxycontin and Morphine, in the last month according to Quest Diagnostics which does employee drug screenings for companies. The Quest data was culled from 5.5 million worker urine tests and found:
- An 18 percent jump in opiate positives in the general U.S. work force in 2009 compared to the previous year.
- A more than 40 percent climb in opiate positives from 2005 to 2009.
People who have an accident on the job and are drug tested are usually not held liable as long as the can prove that they have been legally prescribed a drug. Prescription drugs are certainly playing a part in accidents in the workplace, Quest showed that post-accident drug tests can back positive for opiates up to four times more often than pre-employment tests: 3.7 percent in post-accident compared with 0.78 percent in pre-employment tests. “We believe that workers taking opiates — regardless of the amount — need to take into consideration the consequences of long-term use, including gradual progression of intake, emotional numbness, delayed reaction/responses and decreased performance,” said Clare Kavin, administrative director of an opiate dependency treatment center.
Prescription drugs are abused more than any other drug, both legal and illegal and the problem is getting worse. Most people do not understand the risk of taking strong prescription pain narcotics. Workers need to know their rights in the work place but they should also be considerate of lives around them and how their drug use could put them in harm's way. It is well known that a number of people that are prescribed opiates do not necessitate them, which means they are taking the drugs purely for the high.