A common misconception among the public is that people with opioid addiction resemble the tropes they see on television or films. However, the opposite is much more common; many Americans with opioid use disorder would be considered “functional members of society,” balancing work, family, and extra-curricular activities. Even successful Hollywood actors have recently opened up about their “secret” opioid addictions, a trend that has been around for decades. All of this proves that many people in the workplace are fighting their own battles in private, despite being able to put on a brave face every day and tend to their vocational responsibilities.
Many people can’t simply abandon their careers and walk away from their jobs to tend to their addiction, which is why outpatient clinics are vital to aiding in the resolve of the national opioid crisis. The fear of losing a job due to seeking treatment is also a fear that many have, even though treating their addiction is a more dire priority. There are ways for those with opioid use disorder to handle their opioid treatment while maintaining their responsibilities and careers with outpatient medication-assisted treatment.
Although it may be difficult to broach the topic with a superior, speaking to the boss before going into treatment can allow the process to happen much more smoothly. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer can’t terminate employment unless an employee’s addiction interferes with their performance or they are found misusing substances while at work or on company property. Communicating about substance use disorder treatment can allow for more schedule adjustments and accommodations that may be necessary, particularly early on in treatment.
The ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act, covers those with substance use disorder and prohibits employers from discrimination against them in the workplace. That also requires them to make accommodations for employees who need to seek treatment, provided they do not misuse substances on company time or premises, and their performance is not impacted. However, it’s important to note that there are stipulations in place that allow employers to fire employees who are not successful in their treatment, which is essential to discuss as treatment progresses.
Many employers also offer EAPs, or Employee Assistance Programs to help patients pay for inpatient and outpatient treatment for substance use disorder. Unfortunately, many people struggling with their addiction while managing their career often don’t know about such services and add more stress to their lives, trying to juggle their healing process while attending to their jobs and responsibilities. EAP services are entirely confidential under the law, and employers are not allowed to share any records without consent.
Balancing treatment and a career can feel like walking a tightrope over a fire. Luckily, substance use disorder is now considered a disease and a legitimate disability that opens the door for many people to seek treatment without walking away from their jobs and compromising their professional responsibilities.
An established recovery program is a helpful step toward recovering from opioid addiction and overcoming triggers. Middlesex Recovery offers medication-assisted recovery coupled with counseling and other tools to encourage long-term health. We utilize two medications to aid in recovery and allow you to get your life back on track while still living it. Middlesex Recovery is committed to helping you gain control of your life and providing the support needed to maintain that control.