Alcohol and Drug Related Deaths at Workplaces in the US Soar

america's opioid epidemic

Drug and alcohol related deaths at US workplaces soared by more than thirty percent in 2016, as the country is struggling with a deadly opioid epidemic, which is now migrating to the workplace. As per  the latest data released on Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, deaths at work derived from unintentional alcohol and drug overdoses spiked by more than 30% last year alone, with 217 workers dying last year while on the job due to unintentional overdoses (drugs and alcohol), i.e. nonmedical use of the respective drugs. The figure is up from 165 deaths while on the job from ODs as per 2015 statistics.

Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries started compiling the data back in 2011, the number of accidental OD deaths at work has almost tripled. However, this statistic doesn’t paint the whole grim picture of drug related deaths in the United States.  As per CDC estimates, over 64,000 Americans died from overdose deaths in 2016 and that’s the reason for which President Trump declared opioid addiction a national public health emergency back in October.

I had a conversation with an Anesthesiologist recently as I couldn’t understand how so much Fentanyl and its derivatives are  causing so many overdoses as of late.  Fentanyl is easy to get and even easier to trick heroin addicts that the heroin they’re doing is really fentanyl.

It comes to the USA by the conex boxes (mostly from China) with very little federal oversight as for agriculture and equine use, which is not regulated the same as class 2 and 3 narcotics. Recently the DEA and many pain control doctors have put patients under the microscope to make sure they are not selling their narcotics.

But regulators need to understand one thing, there is a legitimate use for some people living in chronic pain, and these drugs with more regulations only makes it harder for legitimate users to get it. For example,  current rules dictate many opiate type of drugs require the patient visit their pain management physician every 30 days.

That’s a burden on the most vulnerable patients, such as quadriplegics .