On November 1, John M. Williams, WKT Partner & Attorney, spoke at the Southeast Mine Safety and Health Conference in Birmingham, Alabama. John’s topic was “The Impact of the Opioid Crisis on the U.S. Labor Market.” He discussed the impact on the national labor pool and the developing responses among employers, the government and private healthcare. Among the issues covered were:
- The nature and scope of addiction.
- A recent study from the Harvard Business Journal addressing the relationship between opiate addiction and unemployment. Researchers were unable to conclude that addiction is removing people from the labor pool. Rather, it appears that opiate abusers largely remain in the workforce.
- The difficulty in distinguishing between abuse and legitimate medical use of opioids.
- Best practices for employers, including drug testing and employee assistance programs.
- Recent federal legislation aimed at curbing opioid abuse.