Author: Shernide Delva
In the past, we’ve talked about the effects opioids have had on the workforce. We’ve analyzed issues such as how employers handle addiction and how to take time off to seek treatment.
However, a recent article delved further into the complications opioid use have on the workforce.
What if I told you that fewer people were looking for a job or had a job because of opioid addiction?
It turns out, this is a real possibility.
Workforce participation is defined as the number of people working or actively looking for work. Workforce participation has decreased significantly, despite increases in job creation and decreases in unemployment.
One economist points out this decrease may be due to an unlikely cause: opioid addiction.
“Use of both legal prescription pain relievers and illegal drugs is part of the story of declining prime-age participation, especially for men, and this reinforces our doubts about a rebound in the participation rate,” said David Mericle, senior U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs, who prepared a report on the issue earlier this week.
This belief is contrary to recent CBS reports which noted that the decline in workplace participation was due to less demand for lower skilled workers and rising disability rates.
On the contrary, David Mericle argues the reduction in workplace participation has more to do with opioid abuse.
“Data on substance abuse treatment episodes also reinforce the narrative: Of admissions of individuals not in the labor force, 58% described themselves as being out of the labor force for ‘other’ reasons—meaning they aren’t students, disabled, retired, inmates or homemakers—and 47% of these admissions were for opioids, well above the average rate,” he wrote in the report.
This issue simply cannot be ignored.
The opioid crisis has a clear impact on workplace participation because those who struggle with opioid addiction may quit their jobs or get fired. Then, those same people will not apply for other jobs due to their concerns regarding their ability to meet the demands of the work or even pass a drug screening.
“Especially in companies that hire drivers, we hear a lot about how the drug tests are a problem there,” Gad Levanon, chief economist for North America of The Conference Board told CBS. “Many of [the applicants] don’t pass it, so they can’t hire them—and they don’t know many aren’t even trying.”
Opioid abuse is rampant in the same demographic that has seen the largest decline in workforce participation. Opioid use is prevalent in rural areas which commonly struggle economically. A report stated that 22 out of 25 most impacted by opioid abuse are in rural areas or the South.
Which Came First: Economic Hardships or Opioid Abuse?
Mericle did not elaborate on how economic hardships may have influenced opioid abuse in these rural areas or vice versa. He concluded that the opioid epidemic “is intertwined with the story of declining prime-age participation, especially for men.” Essentially, it is hard to determine what led to what.
What do you think? Should we blame the decrease in workforce participation on opioid abuse or do other factors play a more significant role? Regardless of the effect opioids have on the workforce, the reality remains that it is a serious problem.
People who struggle with addiction often quit their jobs, or refuse to look at all because of their addiction. Therefore, a push for treatment is critical. If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, call now. Do not wait.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Drugs and alcohol are abused everywhere; at home, at school, and in the work-place. You may notice things once in a while that seem a little strange in the people you work with. Sometimes this cannot be avoided and you should not always concern yourself with the affairs of others, but be willing to recognize when this kind of behavior affects the work-place or threatens your recovery. Here are a few suggestions of 7 telltale signs your coworker is abusing drugs.
- Extended bathroom breaks
If a coworker is always in the bathroom for way too long several times each shift, especially a girl who takes her purse or a guy who takes a back-pack every time, it could be that they have some other business besides bladder control.
- Longer and longer lunches
Coworkers sometimes have to take extended lunches for appointments or personal reasons, but if your coworker is constantly taking twice the lunch break and shows up in a different mood, it may be safe to say they’re on a different kind of diet.
- Missing work frequently
Coworkers who often miss work for days at a time, or even weeks if your job is lenient enough, may be using too much of their time on other activities. ‘No call- no shows’ or even frequent ‘sick days’ may be attributed to some type of substance abuse, and the next vacation they take might need to be to a luxury detox resort.
- Run down and depressed
Active addiction or substance abuse often creates stressful circumstances. If a coworker shows up to work looking exhausted, bewildered, and depressed it may be because of the drugs they abuse, or because of the lack of drugs during a withdrawal period. Not everyone is happy to be at work, but not everyone looks like they want to jump off the roof either. They may also go from angry, sad, anxious, or excited in quick and unpredictable mood swings.
- Strange stories and excuses
When people you work with are having any of the other listed issues and their explanation seems a little outlandish or orchestrated, it may be because… well, it is. When actively abusing drugs people will devise some of the most insane or at least entertaining excuses to cover up their using.
- They often loan money from other coworkers
I know personally I got away with this for a while in active addiction. People abusing drugs and other substances will build relationships with coworkers and then take advantage of those relationships by constantly borrowing money for so many strange or tragic ‘reasons’ in order to keep up the high between checks.
- Theft in the work-place
It can be money, it can be product, or it can be the belongings of customer or coworkers. If you have someone on the job who acts shady every time something goes missing, or is along in the store and suddenly the register is coming up short, you might be dealing with more than just a kleptomaniac. Drug addicts will find a way to support their habit, on or off the clock.
If you see more than a few of these behaviors in any combination there is a pretty good chance you have a coworker with a serious problem. Not that these are proof alone, but they should all be indicators that deserve consideration. You may want to make sure you are aware of the rules and regulations in place at your job, and address these issues appropriately if there is need for concern. Sometimes what others do is not our business, but anything that affects your recovery in the work-place is always your business.