The misuse of prescription painkillers, heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl is, by now, painfully well known. The U.S. tops the world in drug deaths; in 2015, more people died from overdoses — with two thirds involving an opioid — than from car accidents or gun violence.
The issue is amplifying labor shortages in industries like trucking, which has had difficulty for the last six years finding qualified workers. It’s also pushing employers to broaden their job searches, recruiting people from greater distances when roles can’t be filled with local workers. At stake is not only safety and productivity within companies — but the need for humans altogether, with some manufacturers claiming opioids force them to automate work faster.
One nonprofit called the misuse of prescription drugs a hidden workplace epidemic.As the result of the opioid crisis, a number of New York counties, including Seneca, Ononadaga, Broome, Nassau and Erie counties have announced they will sue major pharmaceutical companies, alleging that deceptive and aggressive marketing have fueled the national surge in opioid abuse and harmed the state's residents.