• M.D. Michaud

Large employers' responses to opioid addiction

The epidemic of addiction to opioids, including prescription pain medication, has devastated families and communities across the United States. The epidemic has also captured the acute attention of employers, who in some areas of the country struggle to find skilled workers who can successfully pass drug tests.


In 2018, the National Safety Council asked VisuaLeverage to analyze interview data from eight large U.S. employers (>25,000 employees). To help inform a national outreach strategy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had asked the NSC to investigate the responses of large employers opioid misuse.


Here are the steps we took. We had less than three weeks to complete the draft report.

Clarify audiences and scope of work. Determine that CDC Injury Prevention Center was the primary audience. National Safety Council staff were also a key audience. Both will use information to guide efforts to reach employers. Determined that the client also would like VisuaLeverage to interpret findings, offer recommendations, and outline questions that remained unanswered from the interviews.


Discuss “sense- making’ process with qualitative team. Talk at length with staff about the data

collection process and corporate roles of interview subjects. Ensure coordinated direction and framework for analysis. Clarify expectations with staff team about their role in collaborative review of qualitative data.

Conduct secondary research to frame the analysis. Review existing client publications, peer-reviewed literature, and grey literature regarding employer responses to opioid misuse. Apply Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) prevention framework to analysis. Incorporate findings from Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) regarding employers' responses to opioid use. Review and summarize other CDC prevention grants that focus on employer roles.


Conduct analysis and write report. Prepare data. Arrange transcription services. Organize data files. Code data. Perform content analysis. Draft an outline for a final report. Produce written summary with visual. Ask client to review. Revise based on comments. Answer follow-up questions from staff.

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Email: mary@visualeverage.com
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