Numerous efforts have been taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government bodies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to control the prevalence of prescription drug misuse across communities. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the United States housed nearly 3.8 million people aged 12 or older, who were misusing prescription pain relievers in the past month (current users). The situation has hardly improved.
At workplaces, prescription drug misuse has led to adverse consequences including deteriorated employee health, frequent absenteeism, and compromised productivity and safety among others. The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Benefits: 2016 Survey highlighted that increasing number of employers acknowledged the adverse effects of mental health/substance abuse problems of their employees. According to the 2016 Survey, around 73 percent respondents admitted that mental health and substance abuse affected the physical health of their employees. 71 percent respondents reported that these problems contributed to decreased job performance and absenteeism while 70 percent employees complained of relationship problems with co-workers.
In addition to the CDC issuing strict prescription guidelines on opioids in 2016, the FDA has advised companies, societies and institutions to find new ways to curb misuse of opioids. Working in this direction, Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems (OWLS), a science-based consulting and training service in the area of Integral Organizational Wellness™, recently revealed the findings of a study that showed the efficacy of a web-based training program in minimizing risks for prescription drug misuse.
Early intervention may curb prescription drug misuse
The study, led by senior researchers in the Institute for Creative Technologies of the University of Southern California, advocated for the need of an early intervention at workplace to address the problem of prescription drug misuse. It is a notch above the previous efforts at workplace, which focused on drug screening and treatment. The company employees who participated in the program called Empowered Health Consciousness, reported significant improvement in their knowledge about prescription drug (Rx) misuse while experiencing increased confidence about using safe alternatives.
Furthermore, the prevention-focused training program reported to be effective in motivating employees to seek support by lowering the associated barriers and eliminating the stigma around substance abuse treatment. The researchers advised companies to integrate an evidence-based approach into their existing well-being initiatives and training programs in order to enhance prescription drug education and prevention.
Dr. Joel Bennett, OWLS CEO and founder, said, “Compared to before the training, participants reported more motivation to avoid Rx and greater ability to identify healthy alternatives for dealing with pain or stress. These are a necessary first step in helping people make better choices and improving their well-being while also bringing much-needed relief to an increasingly critical employer pain point.”
The training program was based on two OWLS programs, cited in the 2016 Surgeon General’s report, “Facing Addiction in America.” The report recommended the need of changing the way the United States addressed substance misuse and substance use disorders by highlighting the inadequacy of the past approaches in addressing these issues. The failure of these approaches, according to the researchers, was attributed to the associated misconceptions and prejudice, which resulted in delivering improper preventive care, none or delayed diagnoses and poor access to treatment and recovery support services. The report demanded a prompt action on addressing these disorders with compassion and proper treatment.
Treating prescription drug abuse
Prescription drug misuse and abuse is a serious mental health problem that may lead to devastating consequences for both the user and his or her families. It may also lead to addiction to other substances, and mental and physical health problems. Problems arising due to prescription drug abuse are treatable with behavioral and medications. However, it is important to approach a facility equipped with requisite resources to get the most suited treatment for early recovery.
The Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline can offer valuable information on various treatment options and some of the finest prescription drug abuse treatment centers. Contact us over an online chat or call our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 to know more.