Opioid crisis: Turning driving force behind low employment rate

Opioid crisis: Turning driving force behind low employment rate

The countrywide opioid addiction epidemic is badly affecting America’s workforce, creating serious problems for employers in finding and managing their workforce. As per the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), opioid crisis is costing employers approximately $10 billion every due to productivity loss.

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 6 million job openings in the United States, yet the unemployment rate is 4.1 percent at a 17-year low. Scientists have expressed concerns over the number of people currently working or searching a new job. One of the major reasons can be the rise in abuse of prescription painkillers, which is significantly responsible over 63,600 drug overdose deaths in 2016.

The opioid crisis has debilitated many people in the working age, whom employers would otherwise be willing to hire. The growing menace of opioid crisis has emerged as an obstacle in the way of a growing and stable employment rate, particularly among youngsters. In the wake of the repercussions of opioids, President Donald Trump declared opioid crisis as a public health emergency. In fact, it has become the priority for the highest level of government officials.

Compared to 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids and heroin in 2016 was five times higher. On an average, around 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Furthermore, approximately 66 percent of drug overdose deaths involved opioids. These statistics throws light upon the magnitude of the problem standing in the way of the nation development and progress.

Low economic condition not responsible for high opioid overdose deaths

A recent research, conducted by the economist Christopher Ruhm, discusses the primary reasons behind the relentless increase in opioid abuse. As previously assumed, he tried to understand the repercussion of opioid abuse on the level of unemployment rate. Based on the analysis of data, the research revealed that the association between economic decline and high drug mortality was quite weak, despite the fact that counties going through economic decline experienced rise in drug mortality.

He recommends that joblessness may have generated fertile conditions for opioid addiction, it was driven more by the availability of prescription drugs. The over prescription of opioids like painkillers has disturbed communities economically, proving problematic for places with sufficient jobs than able workers.

According to Alan Krueger, Princeton economist, the rise in opioid prescriptions from 1999 to 2015 could account for a 20 percent drop in the participation of men in the workforce. Likewise, around 25 percent of decline was observed in the women’s labor force participation during the same period. He further said that other countries too have suffered from recessions, but they did not face the level of opioid crisis as faced by the U.S.

One of the maps in Krueger’s study showed that Appalachia and Rust Belt are economically depressed places due to opioid addiction fueled by joblessness and despair. However, the map also showed that economically healthier regions, where the employment rates are low, such as northwest Arkansas, coastal Washington State and central Maryland, face a dearth of sufficient workers.

Way forward

The abuse of prescription opioids not just affects individuals but also the employers, family, community and nation. The policymakers, health care officials and other stakeholders are working hard on this critical issue to ensure safety and growth of the common masses. The data and analytics can help employers to understand the trends better that could lead to opioid abuse in their workforce.

They can guide the employees on the repercussions of opioids. In this way, employees will become capable of taking the correct decisions related to opioid use, which in return increases the productivity of employees. Furthermore, people addicted to opioids must take proper treatment under the guidance of behavioral health care professionals to get the best job opportunities and improve their efficacy at the workplace.

If you know someone who is addicted to opioids or any other prescription drug, you can seek help from the California Prescription Abuse Helpline. Our representatives can give you details about some of the finest prescription drug rehab centers in California, where recovery is facilitated in a safe and secure environment, under the supervision of trained therapists. You can even chat online with a specialist or call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-738-2770 for more information on the state-of-the-art rehab centers in California.