Although most people tend to be worried about alcohol and illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, the issue of abusing prescription medication has also become worrying. Many people underestimate the potential dangers of abusing these drugs simply because they can be legally acquired. Prescription drugs can cause dependency in the user and can also impair their judgement to a certain degree. If your employees are taking prescription medication, it is important for you to know because:
- These drugs may impair your employee’s judgement or the functioning of his body: In a workplace that’s filled with hazards such as where the employees are operating heavy machinery or driving vehicles, physical or mental impairment can easily result in a serious accident. An employee who is impaired through the use of prescription medication may be putting himself and others at risk.
Employees who have been using prescription medication may also not be aware that they are impaired by the medication especially if they’ve been using it for a long time. This makes it all the more important for you to know.
- The medication may not be theirs: Unfortunately, people are known to start taking drugs that haven’t been prescribed to them when they feel under the weather but don’t wish to see a doctor. This is especially possible if there is medication left over from a previous or someone else’s prescription. This can be a problem because using medication that wasn’t intended for you can have unintended consequences.
- You may be able to solve the problem at the source: An employee may be forced to take certain medication as a result of a condition that comes about due to the conditions under which they work. People who are exposed to certain gases may suffer from chronic headaches. When you’re aware that your employees are taking medication to deal with such issues, you may be able to solve the problem by fixing the source of the offending agent or moving the employee to a different workstation.
- They may be abusing the drug: Over the counter medication such as mild painkillers are frequently misused. This is because we don’t always understand the dangers they pose. Your employee may be taking too much of the medication and this could cause them to be physically or mentally impaired.
- They may be developing an addiction: Addiction to drugs like cocaine and heroin may come about simply due to the strength of the drug. However, people may also develop a dependence on prescription medication due to prolonged use. When an employee has been taking a certain prescription drug for an extended period of time, it is important to find out whether or not they are developing a dependence on it. Dependence on prescription medication can result in addiction or even an overdose. Addiction to certain prescription drugs can also act as precursor to addiction to stronger drugs. For example, oxycodone dependence is likely to lead to heroin use.