Research on Opioids in the Workplace

Medical researcher in a lab

The opioid crisis in the US is rapidly developing. As this crisis continues to touch workers and their communities across the nation, NIOSH and other public health agencies are conducting important research to understand risk factors for use and potential abuse. In addition, NIOSH is contributing specifically to protecting worker populations by investigating:

Risk Factors of Opioid Overutilization Among Workers
  1. Work-related exposures as risk factors for opioid use
  2. Chronic medical conditions as risk factors for opioid use
  3. Overutilization of opioids in physician prescribing in:
    • Employee health services,
    • Employer health plans,
    • Workers’ compensation medical care.

Opioid Use Conditions That Affect Workers
  1. Opioid use as a contributor to workplace injuries and decreased productivity
  2. Workforce education about risks of opioid use disorder (OUD)
  3. Fitness-for-duty and impairment evaluation
  4. Workplace drug testing
  5. Availability of medical assisted treatment (MAT) for OUD
  6. Integration of opioid-affected workers back into the workplace
  7. Reasonable accommodation policy; and
  8. Return-to-work policy

Page last reviewed: June 15, 2018