When reading the newspaper or watching the evening news, the phrase “opioid epidemic” has been seen or heard a lot in recent years. It’s an issue that’s gripped every corner of the nation and has impacted millions of people both directly and indirectly.

As part of BUILDER’s coverage of this issue, we’re providing a few links to information and resources that individuals and employers may deem useful.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a variety of helpful resources for employers on setting up drug-free workplaces, including tools that help a given company learn what types of substance misuse problems it’s facing and how to find approaches to overcome those problems. SAMHSA’s Drug-Free Workplace Toolkit includes resources on how an employer can establish and maintain a drug-free work program and all the components that go along with it.

One area that may be of particular interest is SAMHSA’s information on workplace drug testing. If an employee has a drug problem, DrugAbuse.com offers tips for diagnosing the problem and resources for getting both short- and long-term help.

As mentioned in our feature story about opioids in the construction industry, "The Real Cost of Substance Use to Employers" tool from NORC at the University of Chicago, in conjunction with the National Safety Council and Shatterproof, provides business leaders with specific information about the cost of substance use.

The National Safety Council offers a broad overview on prescription drug abuse on its website. It also gets more specific, providing employers with information on how to address opioids in the workplace.

Lastly, The New York Times in June reported on drug overdoses, stating that they’re now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. The piece is full of startling figures, including this paragraph on the number of 2016 overdose deaths: Although the data is preliminary, the Times’s best estimate is that deaths rose 19% over the 52,404 recorded in 2015. And all evidence suggests the problem has continued to worsen in 2017.