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Substance abuse in workplace topic of local council meeting 

"Substance Abuse in the Oklahoma Workplace  Myths, Legends and the Truth" will be the focus of the next meeting of the Lawton Employer Council from 8:30-10 a.m. Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 135 NW 2nd.

De Ana Walters, president of Allied Labs Inc. will be speaker and will provide information on how employers can keep their workplaces safe and drug free. She will discuss employees' right and explain what employers can do if they have a reasonable suspicion of drug use by an employee and steps they can take to protect their businesses.

Walters said it's important that businesses have drug and alcohol policies to ensure the safety of the workplace.

She's seen, firsthand, the opioid epidemic that is raging. Three years ago, she said, she had shoulder reconstruction surgery and was prescribed an opioid to treat the pain. 

"I didn't tolerate opioids well; they made me feel ill," she said.

But the pain was "significant," and even though she was taking fewer pills than prescribed, she found herself on the verge of addiction.

"I woke up one morning ... I looked up and three hours later I was looking at my watch to see if it was time to take another one.

 "If I hadn't had the knowledge I had, it wouldn't have been an epiphany," she said. "It helped me understand addiction problems a little better."

opioids, she said, are usually prescribed by physicians and they are the new "gateway drug" to addiction. 

The Lawton Constitution

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