Navigating the Opioid Crisis: A Critical Message for Small Business Owners

Navigating the Opioid Crisis: A Critical Message for Small Business Owners

As we enter the holiday season, it's crucial to address a growing concern that affects workplaces across the nation—opioid use. The opioid epidemic continues to claim lives, and its impact extends into the professional realm.

Opioids, including prescription painkillers and synthetics like fentanyl, caused over 80,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2021.¹ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 220 people die daily from opioid overdoses, often involving dangerous variations of fentanyl.²

Why Small Business Owners Should Pay Attention:

Workplace Safety: Opioid use can compromise workplace safety, affecting employees' focus, alertness, and decision-making abilities.

Employee Well-being: As revealed by a recent survey, approximately 3 in 10 adults have dealt with opioid addiction personally or within their families.³ Addressing this issue is essential for supporting the well-being of your workforce.

Recognizing the Signs and Taking Action:

Understanding the signs of an opioid overdose—such as constricted pupils, shallow breathing, and loss of consciousness—is crucial. Immediate administration of Narcan can reverse the effects and save lives. For more information on supervisor training to help your employees recognize impairment, check out NDWA's trainings.

Prevention and Education:

Promoting alternatives to opioids for pain management and educating employees about the risks associated with opioid use are proactive steps small business owners can take.

It's an employer's responsibility to create a safe and supportive environment for employees. By staying informed about the opioid crisis and implementing preventive measures, we can contribute to a healthier and more resilient workforce.



¹ Drug overdose death rates | National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2023, September 25). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

²Overdose Graphics | Resources | Drug overdose. (n.d.).

³KFF Tracking Poll July 2023: Substance use crisis and accessing Treatment | KFF. (2023, August 15). KFF.

UTSW Q&A: Experts talk about opioid abuse, risks, treatment. (2023, August 16).