Just as there are several factors that contributed to the opioid epidemic, there are a myriad of solutions that, in tandem, will make a difference in the lives of those impacted by opioid abuse and may prevent others from misusing and abusing these drugs. Roger Krone and his team at Leidos are executing a program that should be emulated by companies across the United States.
After receiving an email from an employee whose son recently lost his life to a drug overdose, Leidos CEO Roger Krone directed the creation of a corporate responsibility program focusing on drug abuse awareness, prevention, and treatment. The CEO Pledge was born from this initiative.
By signing the pledge, CEOs agree to create a workplace environment that facilitates the tough conversations involving drug abuse, to educate employees and provide access to treatment services, and to join the broader effort to “building drug-free communities and preventing addiction.” The pledge encourages companies to, among other things, take a critical look at internal company policies and the health benefits afforded to employees. Are there barriers to employees getting substance use disorder treatment? Do health plans cover non-drug therapy modalities for treatment of acute and chronic conditions? Is there an employee assistance program in place that provides counseling or other substance use disorder treatment? These are just a few of the many questions CEOs should be asking their management teams.
Leidos has led by example. According to a piece on washingtonexec.com, under the direction of Mr. Krone, Leidos has:
- Held town hall meetings with employees to address opioid issues.
- Met with local officials to discover the problems faced by the community in which Leidos is headquartered.
- Changed its medical reimbursement plan. According to Mr. Krone, “We will not allow under insurance for the doctor to fill more than a week [of opioid prescriptions] at a time.”
Leidos’s efforts have not been simply internal, however. Leidos has also:
- Funded the production of a film by the Wahlberg brothers, “The Circle Of Addiction: A Different Kind of Tears.”
- Supported a non-profit dedicated, among other things, to the distribution of Narcan to those who have been through their training program.
- Made and distributed take-back bags, which allow people to safely dispose of their unused medications.
- Held a community awareness safe disposal event.
Leidos has shown what can be done – and done quickly – when a corporation is serious about addressing this challenge. Whether you are part of a large corporate organization or a small business, you should encourage your company’s leadership to join the more than 70 organizations who have already signed the pledge.