Big business has its eye on state responses to opioid crisis

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/05/jobs-battle-affected-by-the-big-drug-addiction-issue.html

Behind the scenes, big business is paying attention to the opioid addiction epidemic…

Quality of life for employees and quality of workforce are also big business concerns. “When we go out and talk to members here, which we do all the time, we hear them say, ‘We have the jobs; we just can’t find the qualified, skilled workers,'” King said. “Part of that is having trained workers come in to run machines, but then many of them can’t pass drug screens. … Part of that is prescription drug abuse,” King said…

The National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit organization that focuses on the prevention of injury and fatalities, recently graded all 50 states on how they are handling the opioid crisis. The NSC outlined six key measures that it believes should be taken by all states to prevent and treat addiction — including implementation of a PDMP.

Twenty-eight states were graded by the NSC as “failing”; 47 states were graded as “needing improvement.” …

Only five states met 5 out of the 6 indicators: Vermont, New Mexico, Kentucky, Maine and Tennessee. Vermont and New Mexico are among the states with the highest incidence of heroin deaths…

“The rate of opioid deaths is going up in spite of PDMPs in 49 states,” he said. “Catching the 1 percent of patients who are ‘doctor shoppers’ through a surveillance database isn’t going to materially impact the productivity of the state.” …

My comment:

“An estimated 600,000 Americans are addicted to heroin, according to the most recent national survey.”

That’s less than 0.2% of the population. Are businesses really looking for employees within that group? The real reason that employers can’t find employees is because of low pay, no benefits, and crappy schedules. And if employers would rather hire someone who drinks on his own time rather than someone who smokes pot (and fails a drug test), then that’s their problem. (The cannabis industry doesn’t discriminate.)

Any rational person would admit that the drug war is a failure, and yet people are still surprised that the opioid war isn’t working. That it’s making things worse. In fact, since the DEA has taken over the CDC and FDA, the drug war’s victims now include millions of chronic pain patients.

But the fact of the matter is that a large portion of drug abusers and overdose victims are homeless. What can Big Business do about that?

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