Tag: opioid epidemic

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Last Thursday afternoon in a press conference the 45th President of the United States declared the Opioid Epidemic a “National State of Emergency”.

“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” he told reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. “It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”

What is a State of Emergency?

For those of us who don’t work in government, a “state of emergency” can sound frightening, but what does it actually mean? A government or division of government (i.e. on a municipal, provincial/state level) may declare that their area is in a state of emergency. This means that the government can suspend and/or change some functions of the executive, the legislative and/or the judiciary during this period of time. It alerts citizens to change their normal behavior and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans and frees up disaster funding for cities and states dealing with the epidemic.

Refresher on the Opioid Epidemic

A lot of people don’t know that the gist of the has been happening in the early 1990s when doctors came more aware of chronic back and muscle pain many Americans were facing. And because of this need pharmaceutical companies created opioids to meet this demand but the public and doctors were vastly unaware of the long term side effects these pills could cause.

Fast forward to early 2010s where addiction and abuse of opioids are at an all time high, especially in the United States. And once users started seeking out a stronger high, or move on to other kinds of opioids, heroin abuse was on a huge upswing.

There is a lot of speculation as to why this happened, many believe doctors were getting paid to prescribe these highly addictive drugs, others believed pharmaceutical companies knew of the addictive elements of opioids early on and wanted to get people hooked but regardless on average 90 people die every day from opioid abuse. And by 2027, as many as 650,000 people will die from this prescription drug abuse if it is not stopped.

What can we do?

From a citizens’ perspective, all we can do is help those we see in need by directing them to the nearest substance abuse counseling program and helping them kick this deadly habit. From a government perspective, declaring the opioid crisis a national state of emergency is the first step in a long series of pieces to fix this disaster before we lose any more of our fellow Americans.

Did you know Accredited Drug Testing now offers testing for expanded opiates? If you are or know of a loved one in danger of opioid prescription abuse, call 800-221-4291 to schedule your test today and take the first step on the road to recovery.

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On August 10th 2017, President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in the United States, known as the Opioid Epidemic.

More and more people are becoming aware of this rapidly growing issue that imposes a huge threat on American citizens.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others, as well as the illicit drug heroin. 

Opioid

 

About 1.9 million Americans (0.8 percent) reported full-fledged opioid addiction*

What does this mean for you?

 Opioid Epidemic Affect On Employers

  • The use of opioids or prescription painkillers can result in drowsiness, inattentive behavior, dizziness, cloudiness, lack of motivation, and more. To ensure the safety of your staff, and others around them you should enroll yourself, and supervisors in reasonable suspicion drug training. This is a two-hour online course that informs on what signs to look out for, and the next steps one should take if these signs occur.Opioid epidemic
  • Reconsider becoming a drug-free workplace. Once it is known that your company is drug-free, it can limit the risk of work-related accidents, as well as prevent addiction from happening in an employee.
  • Create a drug and alcohol policy that allows your employees to confidentially share information with you about themselves. Make it known that your employees should feel comfortable sharing this information. Educate other employees on the current  Opioid Epidemic, and how they can help.

 Opioid Epidemic Affect On Employees

  • Being that the Opioid Epidemic has been declared a state of emergency, expect to see a few changes in company policies.

In the Department of Transportation, a request for a revision of the drug and alcohol policy has been made. If passed, the standardized drug test for the DOT will change from a 5-panel drug test to a 5-panel drug test with expanded opioid testing. While 5-panel drug tests include opiates, a SAMSHA regulated expanded test will examine for Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Oxycodone, and Oxymorphone.

  • Be expecting to take and pass a pre-employment drug screening for any job you are applying for.

In May 2017, the Federal Reserve took a survey on the reason why employers could not feel low skilled positions. One reason concluded that employees could not pass a drug test.

  • Under the American Disabilities Act or ADA, addiction itself is not considered a disability. However, if you previously engaged in the usage of drugs or alcohol, and are currently participating in a rehabilitation program, or have been successfully rehabilitated, you are eligible for social security benefits.

Opioid epidemic

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A study from Quest Diagnostics revealed that 4.2 percent of the U.S. workforce tested positive for illicit drugs in 2016, the highest rate since 2004. Substance Abuse in America is on the rise.

Today more then ever, people are aware of the negative impact substance abuse has on the economy.

Some say this trend is due to the opioid epidemic President Donald Trump has declared as a public health emergency. Blaming large pharmaceutical companies for pushing these products upon doctors and patients.

donald trump opioid epidemic

It is not just opioids that have been on the rise as the culprit of a positive drug test. A study done by Quest Diagnostics revealed that positive urine tests for cocaine increased for the fourth consecutive year, reaching a 12% increase in 2016.

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Drugs are negatively affecting the economy.

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You do not have to use drugs to feel the negative effects of a drug user.

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There are ways to stop this epidemic.

Substance Abuse and The Economy

Productivity losses are calculated as work that would be reasonably expected to have been done if not for drug use (a loss of potential income and output and therefore GDP) as a result of a reduction in the supply or effectiveness of the workforce. Lost productivity in the United States as a result of labor non-participation is a significant $120 billion dollars.

substance abuse

Drugs in the workplace have an extremely high cost for the employer. It is often the cause of workplace injuries and accidents. Drug abuse costs employers 81 billion dollars per year.

Effects of Substance Abuse

One of the main reasons why a potential employee is not able to become hired is the fact that they can not pass a drug test. This reason has lead employers to hire refugees that have come to America, to take the place of U.S citizens. Most refugees that come to America don’t even know what drugs are. In the United States, drug use is often talked about and almost glorified through music, social media, and other aspects of life. The percentage of American workers testing positive for illegal drugs has climbed steadily over the last three years to its highest level in a decade.

refugee workplace

Pictured above is Talib Alzamel, a 45-year-old Syrian refugee who works at Sterling Technologies, a plastic molding company based near the shores of Lake Erie.

This is just one of the major effects substance abuse has brought to America.

Preventing Substance Abuse

We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic.”. words that were spoken by President Donald Trump when he declared the Opioid Epidemic a public health emergency.

There are many ways to prevent drug abuse.

Stay up to date with your workplace substance abuse policies.
workplace substance abuse policy

As an employer, you can create a drug-free workplace program, that in most cases will benefit not only you as an employer but your employees as well.

Prevention not punishment

The key to ending this epidemic may just be to prevent further drug use. Knowledge of addiction and substance abuse help plays a key factor.

Drug Test Employees Regularly

The largest, most well-known companies in America all do one thing in common. Pre-employment drug screenings. As well as pre-employment screenings, most companies do random drug testing and reasonable suspicion drug testing.

Drug abuse in America is on a rise. What ways do you think you can help?

 

 

 

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Attorney General Sessions and Acting DEA Administrator Patterson announce new efforts being made by the United States Government to follow through with the fight against the deadly Opioid Crisis in America.

On Wednesday, November 29th, 2017,  at a press release held in Washington DC, Attorney General Sessions announced three major efforts being set forth by the United States Government to combat the Opioid Crisis.

“Today we are facing the worst drug crisis in American history, with one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  “That’s why, under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice has been taking action to make our drug law enforcement efforts more effective. Today we announce three new initiatives to do just that.  First, we will invest $12 million in funding for our state and local law enforcement partners to take heroin and methamphetamine off of our streets. Second, we will restructure DEA’s Field Divisions for the first time in nearly 20 years. Third, we will require all of our federal prosecutors’ offices to designate an Opioid Coordinator who will customize our anti-opioid strategy in every district in America. These steps will make our law enforcement efforts smarter and more effective—and ultimately they will save American lives.”

The hope of these efforts is to ultimately put a stop to opioid addiction, and substance abuse that has so illy affected so many Americans today.  Many independent and private sector businesses have come together in an attempt to make a change in the statistics. Despite their efforts, the number of overdoses, relapses, job loss, and so many other negative consequences substance abuse has on the lives of US citizens has continued to grow.

President Donald Trump’s strong investment in the Opioid Crisis may be exactly what America needs to overcome the battle against substance abuse.

The DEA is pouring millions into funding for newly enstated programs and task forces throughout the US to help battle the exportation and consumption of illegal drugs.

Designation of Opioid Coordinators

Every U.S. Attorney will designate an Opioid Coordinator by the close of business on Dec. 15, 2017

Each USAO Opioid Coordinator will be responsible for facilitating intake of cases involving prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl;  convening a task force of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to identify opioid cases for federal prosecution, facilitate interdiction efforts, and tailor their district’s response to the needs of the community it serves; providing legal advice and training to AUSAs regarding the prosecution of opioid offenses; maintaining statistics on the opioid prosecutions in  the district; and developing and continually evaluating the effectiveness of the office’s strategy to combat the opioid epidemic.
View the full Attorney Generals memo to the United States here.

COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Grants and Anti-Meth Program

Anti-Heroin Task Force Program (AHTF)  
AHTF provides two years of funding directly to law enforcement agencies in states with high per capita levels of primary treatment admissions for heroin and other opioids. This funding will support the location or investigation of illicit activities related to the distribution of heroin or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids.

The complete list of Anti-Heroin Task Force Program (AHTF) award recipients, including funding amounts, can be found here.

COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP)
The state agencies receiving funding today have demonstrated numerous seizures of precursor chemicals, finished methamphetamine, laboratories, and laboratory dump seizures. State agencies will be awarded two years of funding through CAMP to support the investigation of illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.

The complete list of COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP) award recipients, including funding amounts, can be found here

How does the Opioid Crisis affect you?

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If you have not already experienced the impacts of the opioid crisis or substance abuse through yourself, another, be expected too. With the increase of work-related accidents due to drug or alcohol consumption, many companies are re-writing their substance abuse policies with stricter guidelines, These guidelines typically tend to include random testing, reasonable suspicion testing, and also a change to the standard 5-panel urine test to an expanded opioids drug test. Some companies are even switching to hair testing, which has proven to be more accurate.

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT), effective January 1st,  will require all employees to take a 5-panel expanded opioid drug test. The DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy issued its revision to The DOT Part 40, drug and alcohol compliance, to try to minimize the consumption of illegal substances by employees who work a safety-sensitive position.

Many states are implementing a drug testing program for recipients of food stamps, or on welfare.

In states like Michigan and California, Police have administered a program that tests for drivers on drugs. The program uses a portable saliva-testing device that can tell officers if a driver has certain drugs in his systems, such as marijuana or opiates.

Many State and Local Legislators are looking into implementing similar guidelines.

Apart from rules and guidelines due to the Opioid Crisis, many Americans are experiencing an emotional toll.

Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. The majority of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid, such as prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl. The number of overdose deaths involving opioids quadrupled since 1999. From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. In 2016, a reported 64,000 deaths were due to overdose.

Opioid Crisis

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64,000 Americans died from overdoses last year — 175 every day, seven every hour.

These are real-life statistics of the effects the opioid epidemic has had on the American population.

On Thursday, October 26th, President trump declared the opioid crisis as a public health emergency.

This Opioid Crisis is the worst drug crisis in American history.

President Trump

Opioid addiction does not discriminate. It does not target one age, one race, one income level. Opioid addiction is everywhere.

Eric Bolling, a former reporter for FOX news has felt the effects of this epidemic first hand.

Bolling’s only child, 19-year-old Eric Chase was found dead September 9th, 2017, the same day his father left his job at Fox News.

After undergoing an autopsy, the report concluded the 19-year-old contained numerous illegal substances in his system, including the deadly drug fentanyl.

On September 11, 2017, the post-mortem toxicology report revealed Eric Chase had cocaine, marijuana, Xanax, and the opioid drugs, fentanyl and cyclopropyl fentanyl, in his system. 

Many friends expressed their condolences to Eric Bolling and his family.

On October 26th, 2017 Eric Bolling tweeted “Adrienne and I thank you for your continued prayers and support. We must fight against this national epidemic, too many innocent victims.”

According to time, since 2000 the number of opioid-related deaths has risen more than 137 percent.

opioid crisis
Map shows opioid-related deaths per 100,000 residents in 2015; 2c x 4 inches; 96.3 mm x 101 mm;

“This epidemic is a national health emergency,” Trump said during an address at the White House. “Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now. As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction.”

“We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.” These encouraging words stated by President Donald Trump challenges Americans to do all that they can to hinder this heartbreaking disease.

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