WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 20, 2018) Kathryn J. Russo, Principal at Jackson Lewis P.C., testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions and the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections during a joint hearing on “The Opioids Epidemic: Implications for America’s Workplaces” in Washington, D.C. The hearing held on February 15, examined how the opioid epidemic is affecting workplaces, communities, and the lives of working Americans across the country.
Ms. Russo’s practice consists of providing advice to employers on drug and alcohol issues that arise in the workplace, including drug testing and disability management issues. Ms. Russo offered her perspective on how the opioid crisis impacts employers.
“Many employers I work with are struggling with the workplace impacts of opioid addiction, including issues such as increased work-related accidents and injuries, increased employee turnover and increased workers’ compensation costs,” said Ms. Russo. “An employer may learn that an employee is using opioids when an employee voluntarily discloses that he is using prescription painkillers, or that he is addicted to opioids. Alternatively, the employee may test positive for opioids on a workplace drug test.”
Congressional members heard about the economic impact the opioid epidemic is having on the economy as a whole, and how businesses large and small are seeing the effects of the epidemic. Not only are opioids having an impact on the overall health of the economy, employers are addressing opioid misuse and abuse in the workplace.
Witnesses including Ms. Russo also discussed how employers are adopting policies to address opioids in the workplace, and how to identify and treat employee opioid abuse and misuse within the workplace.
Ms. Russo also noted, “Many employers have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that allow employees to seek confidential assistance with substance abuse problems.”
A recent survey by the National Safety Council reported that 70 percent of all U.S. companies and 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have an EAP to assist employees struggling with substance abuse and other problems.
Today’s joint subcommittee hearing marks the second joint subcommittee hearing held by the Committee on Education and the Workforce on the issue of opioids in the community.
Ms. Russo’s full testimony can be found here.
About Jackson Lewis
Jackson Lewis P.C. is a law firm with more than 800 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries. Having built its reputation on providing premier workplace law representation to management, the firm has grown to include leading practices in the areas of government relations, healthcare and sports law. The firm’s commitment to client service, depth of expertise and innovation draws clients to Jackson Lewis for excellent value-driven legal advice.