The Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), recently said, "This is a complex problem that calls for action by all who have a role in preventing opioid abuse and responding to this problem, whether it is doctors, the health department, law enforcement or families."
Alexander did not cite employers, and when asked by CNBC, an aide to Sen. Alexander said, "It is up to employers — not the federal government — to determine the best practices for managing their employees."
To try to deal with the issue, the NSC recommends that employers expand drug testing to include detection of opioid painkillers. The survey found that while 87 percent of employers conduct drug testing, only about 52 percent test for synthetic opioids.
"Beyond the loss of productivity, prescription abuse can cause impairment, injury and may lead employees to bad choices, such as theft or embezzlement from the employer," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that non-medical use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health-care costs.