Getting Off Opioids and Keeping Your Job
The opioid epidemic that is affecting the country has some alarming statistics. For example, about nine percent of Americans are addicted to opiates; over 130 people die from opioid-related drug overdoses daily; over 11 million people misuse prescribed opioids. These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. How this drug addiction affects the user’s family, job, and social interactions can only be imagined.
Back in the late 1990s when prescription opioids were being used freely by the medical community for pain relief, pharmaceutical companies encouraged their use without mentioning how addictive the drugs were. Only in recent years has it become an issue that physicians, patients, and others are now addressing.
Kicking the Opioid Habit
Anyone who has had to deal with chronic and/or incessant pain knows how debilitating it can be. Medications that relieve the pain are welcomed. The problem with prescription opioids is that even when the pain is gone, the desire for the medication continues; and it causes problems. Getting off this medication is not easy, especially when continued pain is an issue. Still, it can be done.
Withdrawal from opioid addiction includes an array of symptoms. Physical, behavioral, and mental symptoms are part of the process. The intensity of the symptoms is related to the individual’s tolerance, how long the opioids have been used, and the strength of physical dependence on the drug. Coming off opioid addiction is not usually life threatening; however, extreme discomfort is to be expected during the process.
Even though some people have tried to kick the habit on their own, the best way to make a fresh start drug-free, is to seek out an accredited treatment center. Trained addiction professionals know how to help people through the process. Additionally, there is the support of others going through the same withdrawal.
Because the opioid epidemic includes so many patients who became addicted through prescription drugs, some clinics have special programs to help those patients get off the drugs.
Maintaining Your Job
A large number of people using opioids are employed. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a report finding that 76 percent of those with substance abuse problems are employed.
Many of these people are afraid that seeking help for their addiction would ruin their careers; yet, going through rehabilitation is probably the main thing that will help them remain employed.
People with addictions have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the ADA, you cannot be discriminated against if you are a recovering addict. Those who are currently in a rehab program or have successfully completed one are covered by the ADA.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also helps by allowing for 12 work weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. This time can be used to receive treatment.
Talking with an employer can be difficult, but it can also result in a much better outcome, and perhaps even support for recovery. Being silent and continuing in addiction is a road that can lead to disaster. There is help available, and taking advantage of it is important for your future.
Even though there are measures taken to protect individuals against discrimination while going through drug or alcohol treatment, it can happen. Tison Law Group has expertise in addiction and mental health law. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction and need legal assistance, contact us through our website or give us a call to schedule a consultation.