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Shira Wilensky Calls for Employers to Take Active Role in Addressing Opioid Epidemic

In March, the maker of prescription drug OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, reached a $270 million settlement with the attorney general of Oklahoma.

The New York State attorney general added billionaire members of the Sackler family, which controls Purdue, to that state's pending claim against the company. Although two hundred million of the proceeds will go to support a national addiction research center at Oklahoma State University, the opioid epidemic is far from under control. According to a survey published by the National Safety Council, more than 100 people die daily from opioid overdoses, and 75% of employers say workplaces have been impacted. Yet, the number of HR, safety and manager-level respondents who felt prepared to deal with the issue is around 17 percent.

This shocking disparity highlights a major lack of understanding of the severity of the problem, and HR leaders say firms should recognize those struggling with addition as well as those trying to help a family member coping with addiction. OneDigital’s National Practice Leader of Health & Wellbeing Shira Wilensky says employers must develop a culture of safety and transparency as well as an overall strategy in place to support employees, in the article “People Feature: Shops Tackle Opioid Crisis With Systems for Support” published in Ignites.

“Especially within financial services, where the unwritten rules of high performance are to keep pushing through no matter what, asking for help can be perceived as weak. Yet, given the real risks of underperformance, absenteeism and overall productivity declines, firms’ cultures are shifting. They realize that there has to be a message from the top down that we’re all humans and that everybody benefits from employees’ wellbeing.”
 
Shira Wilensky, National Practice Leader, Health & Wellbeing, OneDigital

Click here to read the full article.

To find out more about providing employees with resources they need to safely address the abuse of prescription drugs reach out to your OneDigital Consultant.

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