According to the National Safety Council, an average of
15.6% of employees live with a substance use disorder with
the highest rates of prescription pain medication disorders
coming from people in the services sector. Workplaces
with high on-the-job injury rates and/or rural locations
tend to see increased rates of prescription drug misuse.
There are many steps you can take to identify and solve
substance abuse problems in the workplace.

The opioid crisis is particularly troubling for businesses
due to increased health care costs and decreased
productivity as a result of absenteeism. On average,
people with opioid use disorders spend five times as many
days in the hospital each year and are 4.5 times more likely
to visit the emergency room. This translates into higher
insurance premiums for employers.

Signs Your Employees
May Be Struggling
With Opioids:

  • Changes in attendance such as increased sick days or unplanned absences.
  • High turnover rates.
  • Loss in productivity.
  • Increased tension between team members.

For Assistance With Workplace
Opioid Policies and Programs:

Drug Free Workplace
The Drug Free Workplace hotline assists
employers and unions with establishing policies,
drug testing, and employee assistance/other

1-800-WORKPLACE (967-5752)

Prevention at Work

EAP Benefits
Offering an employee assistance
program can help address many
struggles, including substance
abuse, that benefit both the
employee and the employer.

Create a Wellness Culture
Encourage healthy choices across
your workforce by providing opportunities
and incentives for participating
in healthy behaviors.

Educate and Engage
Inviting employees to attend
presentations or engaging with
a health coach can help with
identification of a substance abuse
issue as well as connection to
proper care.

Encourage Routine Care
As part of your employee wellness
program, encourage regular
visits with a primary care provider.
That relationship can help
employees safely and effectively
manage pain concerns.

Offer Outside Resources
Employees may not feel
comfortable addressing substance
abuse issues through workplace
programs. Offer external
resources for prevention and
treatment to overcome
employees' hesitations.

Recovery Friendly Workplaces


Recovery Friendly Workplaces (RFW’s) support their communities by recognizing recovery from substance use disorder as a strength and by being willing to hire and work intentionally with people in recovery. RFW’s encourage a healthy and safe environment where employers, employees, and communities can collaborate to create positive change and eliminate barriers for those impacted by addiction.

FOSTER a safe and recovery friendly environment.

  • In order to strengthen workplace culture, Recovery Friendly Advisors (RFA’s) will support interested companies in finding evidence-based practices to meet their individualized needs.
  • RFA’s will help you develop and sustain the RFW Initiative in your workplace. They are your Recovery Friendly Workplace partners; there are no charges for their services.

ENGAGE their employees in addiction & behavioral health education and prevention.

  • RFA’s will provide workplaces with information and resources to promote health, wellbeing, and recovery for themselves and their family members.
  • RFW’s will provide their employees with education and review of the company’s alcohol, tobacco, and other drug policies upon hire and on an annual basis thereafter.
  • RFA’s will consult with employers to plan trainings related to substance misuse, behavioral health, and addiction that are tailored to the company’s specific needs.

RETAIN healthy and productive employees.

  • Workplaces that implement evidence-based health and safety programming retain a healthier, more productive, and more motivated workforce.

PROMOTE prevention and recovery in their local communities.

  • By creating a recovery friendly environment, employers send a strong message to their communities that they understand the importance of a solution-focused approach by addressing addiction and behavioral health “head-on.”
  • RFA’s will assist businesses with participating in public awareness and education events in their communities. These events build loyalty between the recovery community, their allies and the designated RFW.

Want to become a RFW?