When the opioid epidemic comes to workplace, how should employers respond?

As the country grapples with an opioid crisis, employers must design benefit packages that cover essential treatment options for addicts, industry executives said Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Northeast Business Group on Health.

Employers have gradually become more comfortable classifying substance-use disorders as medical conditions. A recent poll from the National Safety Council found 71% of U.S. human resources executives considered misuse of prescription drugs a disease.

“There’s still a stigma—don’t think it’s been solved,” said Laurel Pickering, president and chief executive of the business group. “But as more companies have become open to talking about mental health, more are talking about substance use.”