The yearslong opioid epidemic is having a negative impact on employers and few employees have the knowledge or resources to handle addiction, according to a new survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.
The survey, which questioned employees and human resource professionals, showed that nearly two-thirds of them believe opioid use has caused problems for their company or will in the future.
About 65 percent of the HR professionals said opioid addiction affects their company financially, according to The Hartford.
"Now is the time for the business community to join in a united effort advancing addiction prevention, treatment and recovery," Christopher Swift, The Hartford's chairman and CEO, said in a written statement. "All of us -- companies, citizens and communities -- must work together to overcome this crisis."
The insurer said that, from the survey, it gleaned that there was an opportunity to increase education on addiction for companies of all sizes.
A majority of the people surveyed, both employees and HR professionals, said they did not feel they had been well trained to help others suffering from addiction to opioids, according to The Hartford.
This survey comes at a time when governments and organizations have been battling an opioid epidemic that kills thousands of people a year.
Fueled in part by an overabundance of prescription opioids, experts say people have turned to heroin and other illicit drugs with deadly consequences in the past five or so years.
Given the need for education, The Hartford said it has partnered with the drug prevention organization Shatterproof to provide online materials for companies.
"As a former hotel executive and businessman, I have seen firsthand the impact of addiction in the workplace," Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof, said in a written statement. "And with one in three U.S. families impacted by addiction, employers play a critical role in solving this crisis. We are grateful to The Hartford for their commitment to support employees struggling with substance use disorders by providing education and resources through the Shatterproof educational program."
The Hartford said it has undertaken efforts to reduce opioid use among injured workers by more than 40 percent since 2015.