Employers in Arkansas have new weapons in the fight against the devastating opioid crisis impacting our workforce.
Together Arkansas (togetherarkansas.com) is a collaborative opioid response initiative. Its developers include the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas, the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Walmart is its digital outreach sponsor. The website provides employers a free toolkit of prevention and response resources covering a range of issues. Some issues include legal concerns, drug-testing, getting help, returning to work, etc.
According to the American Action Forum, between 1999 and 2015:
- Opioid use disorder took 43,400 workers out of the state’s workforce
- Americans lost a staggering 574 million work hours to substance use disorder
- Opioid use in Arkansas caused $33.5 billion in lost productivity
Currently, opioids take one life in Arkansas every two days1.
“The opioid epidemic is one of the biggest threats to the foundation of business and our economy today,” said Curtis Barnett, president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Blue Cross. “Providing Arkansas employers tools to address a problem as pervasive as opioid use disorder is critical. Helping employees break the bonds of addiction and get and stay healthy keeps them creative, innovative and productive. And that makes Arkansas strong.” For more, visit togetherarkansas.com.
1 According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Arkansas Opioid Summary