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药物成瘾问题严重,对美国企业构成问题

Kirt Walker 2019年11月20日

美国全国保险公司的首席执行官认为,对于任何一个组织而言,员工都是最大的资产,所以加大投资员工福利、应对阿片类药物危机才是正确的选择。

位于华盛顿特区的阿片类药物纪念馆陈列着22,000颗白色药丸,每一颗都刻着一张2015年因过量服用阿片类处方药物死亡的人的脸。图片来源:Mark Wilson—Getty Images

美国平均每天有130人死于过量服用阿片类药物。

根据精算师协会(Society of Actuaries)最近的一份报告,2018年,单是滥用阿片类处方药物造成的经济影响就高达1,794亿美元。其中包括726亿美元的死亡成本、604亿美元的医疗成本、265亿美元的生产力损失,以及109亿美元的刑事司法系统成本。

显然,阿片类药物成瘾危机范围太大,任何一个实体或部门都无法单独应对——它影响着全社会的每一个部门。因此,一个放之四海而皆准的解决方案是行不通的。

现在,企业领导者是时候站起来积极应对这场危机了。通过与公共卫生官员、民选领导人和执法部门合作,企业可以帮助完善为各地量身订制的解决方案。

简单地说,成瘾是一个劳动力问题。如果企业领导者能够介入,在保障这些员工就业的同时,为他们提供必要帮助,将会对他们的康复产生巨大影响。这样可以节省与医疗保健和生产力损失有关的成本。而且,帮助人们渡过成瘾危机可能会为公司培养出一批最忠诚、生产力最高的员工。

要做到这一点,企业领导人首先要评估阿片类处方药物滥用给公司造成的影响。为了帮助公司了解药物滥用为本公司增加的成本,美国国家安全委员会(National Safety Council)提供了一个在线计算工具,将公司的员工基础、所处行业和位于哪个州都计算在内。例如,根据该计算器的计算,在加州,对于一家拥有100名员工的零售商而言,药物滥用每年将给其带来近3.7万美元的损失。

企业领导人在公司里应对药物成瘾问题时,还需要转变思维方式。虽然“只有一次机会”的政策看起来似乎合乎逻辑,但实际上,考虑到要培训新员工而且生产力降低了,这种政策比其他选择成本更高。如果雇主能够接受上瘾是一种疾病而不是性格缺陷的事实,就可以带来新的可能性。制定政策,再给员工一次机会,给员工提供咨询和康复资源,积极宣传阿片类处方药物的危害,这些都是企业能够发挥作用的方式。向员工宣传上瘾的危险以及可供利用的资源,可以让员工更愿意在有需要时寻求帮助。

这也有利于公司的盈利。根据美国国家安全委员会、芝加哥大学的NORC和非营利组织Shatterproof的联合分析,每位寻求治疗的员工每年可以为雇主节省近2,607美元。

此外,针对这个问题,企业应当积极与当地其他利益相关方进行沟通。全国各地许多地方的公共卫生专家已经为当地制定了应对阿片类药物危机的战略计划,并正在寻求一切可能的帮助来应对这一危机。与这些领导者合作,确定你的公司可以为整个社区的解决方案做出哪些贡献,可以以更有意义的方式帮助社区更好地解决成瘾问题。看看当地战略中是否有哪个部分需要额外资源,思考如何帮助填补某些空白。一旦找到机会,就调动相关资源和人力协助进行公众教育,减少上瘾,并为满足当地社区的其他目标开展工作。

企业也可以通过提供专业能力和资源来提高社区对阿片类药物危机的应对。提供专业知识、资金或其他资源可以增强公共部门和政府应对阿片类处方药物危机的效果。例如,公司的人力资源团队可以共享他们的最佳实践和资源,帮助其他公司充分有效地解决工作场所的成瘾问题。从传播的角度来看,提供营销团队的人才可能有助于公共卫生专家更有效地加强公众教育,提升公众意识。

企业也应该考虑对其他公司和组织施加影响,促其共同努力。作为俄亥俄州阿片类药物教育联盟(Ohio Opioid Education Alliance)的创始成员,我亲眼目睹了企业联合起来,共同努力解决当地的阿片类药物成瘾问题。已经有80多家当地企业和组织加入了联盟,迄今为止,它们共捐赠了800多万美元用于资助一项针对家长和看护者的教育活动。其他企业则通过与利益相关方沟通或提供其他专业知识来为这项运动作出贡献。如果领头企业加大了工作力度,社区中的其他企业也会更有动力。

需要全国各地的所有利益相关方共同努力,才能够保护我们的儿童、家庭和工作场所未来免受阿片类药物成瘾的危害。企业有责任帮助当地社区完善为当地量身定制的解决方案。(财富中文网)

科特·沃克是美国全国保险公司(Nationwide)的首席执行官。

译者:Agatha

Every day, an average of 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.

The economic impact of prescription opioid abuse alone was a staggering $179.4 billion in 2018, according to a recent report by the Society of Actuaries. That includes $72.6 billion in mortality costs, $60.4 billion in health care costs, $26.5 billion in lost productivity, and $10.9 billion in criminal justice system costs.

Clearly, the opioid addiction crisis is too large for any one entity or sector to combat alone—it impacts every segment of society. So, a one-size-fits-all solution won’t work.

Now is the time for business leaders to stand up and take an active role in addressing this epidemic. By joining forces with public health officials, elected leaders, and law enforcement, businesses can help enhance locally-tailored solutions in communities across the country.

Simply put, addiction is a workforce issue. If business leaders can intervene and get people the help they need while keeping them employed, it could make a huge difference in their recovery. It can save costs associated with health care and lost productivity. And helping people through an addiction crisis may create some of a company’s most loyal and productive workers down the road.

To do so, business leaders need to first assess the impact of prescription opioid abuse within their own companies. To help companies understand the cost of substance use in their workplace, the National Safety Council offers an online calculator tool, which considers a company’s employee base, industry, and state to estimate the related workplace costs. For example, according to the calculator, a retailer in California with 100 employees would lose nearly $37,000 a year due to substance abuse issues.

Business leaders need to also shift their mindset about how to respond to addiction in the workplace. While a one-chance-only policy may seem logical, it may actually be more costly than other alternatives in terms of training new workers and lost productivity. When employers embrace the reality that addiction is a disease, not a character flaw, it opens up new possibilities. Creating second chance policies that provide employees access to counseling and recovery resources, and proactively educating about the dangers of prescription opioids are all ways businesses can make a difference. Communicating to employees about the dangers of addiction and available resources can help make workers feel more comfortable to seek the help they need.

And it's good for the bottom line, too. For each employee seeking treatment, employers can save almost $2,607 per person each year, according to joint analysis from the National Safety Council, NORC at the University of Chicago, and nonprofit Shatterproof.

Additionally, businesses should actively engage with community stakeholders outside the walls of their company on this issue. Public health experts in many communities across the country already have strategic plans in place locally to respond to the opioid crisis, and are looking for any help they can muster to address this crisis. Working with these leaders to identify specific ways your organization can contribute to a community-wide solution can help the community better tackle the addiction problem in a more meaningful way. Explore if there is a particular part of the local strategy that needs additional resources and consider how to help fill a specific gap. Once that opportunity is identified, target resources and manpower to help educate the public, reduce addiction, and meet other local objectives.

Businesses can also engage by offering up professional capabilities and resources to enhance their community’s response to the opioid crisis. Offering expertise, funding, or other resources may augment public sector and government efforts to confront the prescription opioid crisis. For example, a company’s human resources team may be able to share best practices and resources to help other companies adequately and effectively address addiction in the workplace. From a communications perspective, offering the talents of a marketing team may help the public health experts to drive education and awareness more effectively.

Businesses should also consider influencing other companies and organizations to join the effort. As a founding member of the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of businesses coming together to combat opioid addiction in a community. More than 80 local businesses and organizations have joined the Alliance and, to date, have donated more than $8 million to fund the development of an education campaign aimed at parents and caregivers. Others have helped the campaign by communicating to stakeholders or offering other expertise. When leading companies step up, others in the community will be inspired to do so also.

It is going to take all stakeholders in communities across the country, working together, to protect our children, families, and workplaces from future opioid addiction. And businesses have a responsibility to help hone those locally-tailored solutions.

Kirt Walker is CEO of Nationwide.

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