19.11.2019

Opioids in the Workplace

Opioid use can potentially affect workplace health and safety in several ways. Its use
and misuse tend to be higher in workplaces with lower paid sick leave and job security.
This scenario suggests that workers may feel they need to return to work quickly after
an injury, and in order to control their pain, they turn to opioid use. The lack of
sick leave and job security also may lead workers reluctant to take time off in order
seek appropriate treatment
and recover.

In some cases, people who use prescription drugs may misuse them, which could lead them
to develop dependence on the drugs. It has been noted that prescription misuse for opioids
may lead to illegal drug use. As a person develops an addiction, they begin to crave the
drug and continue to use it regardless of the harmful effects. This need becomes the focus
of their feelings, thoughts and activities. This preoccupation can affect the ability to
perform job tasks safely.

There is also the potential for an overdose to occur at the workplace, whether it involves
a customer, client, member of the general public, or a co-worker. The safety of the first
responder who encounters the product when performing first aid measures or law enforcement
duties also becomes a factor.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety published information on what workplaces
can do.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety


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