On September 19, 2016, the son of a longtime Leidos employee, who had struggled for years to overcome his opioid addiction, died of an overdose. He was 30 years old.
His distraught father was, “not the only member of the Leidos family affected by the opioid epidemic — far from it,” said Roger Krone, Chairman and CEO of Leidos, a Fortune 500® information technology, engineering, and science solutions company. In an open letter, the grieving father told Krone he was “stunned’’ by the number of colleagues who related with their own stories of loved ones lost to opioids.
That spurred Krone to launch a series of education, awareness, and philanthropic relationships to help employees and others prevent — or, if necessary, help treat — addiction. By implementing an Advanced Opioid Management benefits program, Leidos is seeing strong overall reductions in the number and quantity of employee prescriptions for opioids. In addition, Leidos actively supports non-profit organizations working to end the epidemic, including working with The Truth Initiative, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and the Chris Atwood Foundation, among others, all focused on prevention as well as treatment. Finally, by launching a “CEO Pledge,” Leidos is encouraging companies, of all sizes and all industries, to act now – to discuss the epidemic, help educate employees, and to work with nonprofit organizations dedicated to building drug-free communities.
Krone hopes to banish the stigma, and the silence, that often surrounds opioid addiction. “If we foster an environment that allows one person to feel more comfortable” speaking up to ask for help, he says, “we will have made an important difference.” More on how Leidos is helping to battle the opioid epidemic, and how to join in the fight, can be found here.