The National Safety Council supports the successful passage of H.R. 5892, establishing an advisory committee to address opioid use disorder in the workplace. Over 30 organizations have signed on in support of this legislation, and we applaud House lawmakers that have introduced and passed over 25 new bills to address the opioid epidemic this month alone. As the Senate debates a number of legislative proposals to combat the opioid crisis, the National Safety Council urges lawmakers to keep in mind that millions of people go to work every day amidst this hidden workplace epidemic.
H.R. 5892 will provide expertise to help improve the safety of both workers and their families. As 75 percent of people with a substance use disorder are employed, the need for organizations to address addiction, treatment and recovery is rising. NSC surveys found that 70 percent of employers have been directly impacted by prescription drug misuse.
Future legislative proposals should include comprehensive life-saving actions such as requiring use of prescription drug monitoring programs, requiring prescriber education and safer-use guidelines for opioids, increasing access and funding for medication assisted treatment and naloxone, improving overdose data collection, and reducing stigma around addiction. The National Safety Council has made several calls for such measures – most recently in April at the Washington, D.C., opening of its Prescribed to Death memorial to the victims of the opioid crisis, as well as in our Prescription Nation report.
We hope the Senate considers and advances H.R. 5892 and other important opioid legislation, understanding that lives are at stake.