Oxycodone, the active ingredient in Percocet and the extended-release OxyContin, is a semi-synthetic opioid that doctors use to treat moderate to severe pain. Like other opioids, it is effective in suppressing pain receptors in the brain. In fact, it can be effective to a fault—like other opioids, it is extremely habit-forming and is one of the prime contributors to what we can safely call America’s opioid crisis. Even legitimate uses of oxycodone medications are fraught with the dangers of addiction and side effects. As many people try to reconcile their pain treatment with continuing to work, the dangers of using oxycodone on the job become apparent. If you’re on oxycodone yourself, be aware of these hazards. If you’re an employer who suspects illicit oxycodone abuse employees, keep these warning signs and consequences in mind going forward.
Oxycodone, when used as prescribed, still carries significant side effects—many of which can adversely affect job performance. Oxycodone can cause headaches, nausea, hypotension, and dizziness, all of which can impede white-collar and blue-collar labor alike. Drowsiness, slowed reaction time, and a short attention span also often accompany the use of oxycodone and many other opioids, all of which have a direct effect on workplace productivity and safety.
Failing a Drug Test
Even if your doctor has prescribed oxycodone and you are using it as directed, an accident in the workplace while under the influence of this medication could lead to serious consequences. In the wake of such an accident, it’s not uncommon for employers to require a hair follicle drug test, which can detect up to 17 different illegal or commonly abused drugs. Owing to the prevalence of oxycodone among its fellow opioids in the drug-abuse crisis that has gripped our nation, it has a panel unto itself for detection. If you are using oxycodone with an expired or invalid prescription, or no prescription at all, a positive test result could easily lead to termination.
Avenues for Assistance?
If the dangers of using oxycodone on the job have manifested themselves in the workplace, employee assistance programs can aid workers in returning to the workforce devoid of deleterious medications. Employee education regarding the dangers of opioids should be available to everyone on staff. If addiction to oxycodone or any other opioid is a concern for you or your employees, seek or recommend counseling as soon as possible.