Some factory owners are finding that their shop floors are home to drug rings — with the companies themselves as the suppliers.
The combination of generous health benefits and the national opioid crisis has made manufacturers prime targets for sales of the addictive drugs. More and more, companies are finding that investigations of workers' compensation scams turn into drug investigations.
It's a tricky problem to root out because plenty of employees are prescribed the drugs legitimately. Some have questioned whether the drugs are keeping people out of the labor force, but according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly two-thirds of people who use prescribed pain medications are employed.
Based on National Center for Health Statistics figures, opioid painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet were involved in about 14,400 overdose deaths in 2016, while nonmethadone synthetic opioids such as fentanyl were linked to more than 20,100 overdose deaths.
The crisis is costly, particularly for businesses. Opioid misusers cost employers nearly twice as much annually in health care, $19,450 vs. $10,853 for those who don't misuse the drugs, according to the 2016 report by Castlight Health.