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 also regularly works with such entities as CADCA, the Truth Initiative, and the DEA to get the truth about the opioid crisis out to the public.
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.