Prescription misuse impacts more than 70 percent of employers in the US

the size of their company, industry, and location — that will reveal the estimated prevalence of substance abuse among workers, workers’ family members, and potential savings.    

According to the results provided by the calculator, larger companies normally have more policies implemented to address substance use disorders. Industries with the highest rates of substance use are entertainment, food services, and construction; these fields have a rate of substance abuse that’s twice as high as the national average. Industries dominated by women and older adults tend to have a rate of substance use disorder that is two-thirds lower than the average.

prescription misuse
Tess Benham, Senior Program Manager, Prescription Drug Overdose Initiatives of the NSC

For employers, the annual costs of untreated substance use disorders range from $2,600 to more than $13,000 per employee.

“Industries with highly skilled workers or industries that pay high wages, like information or technology, tend to have more costs associated with substance use among their employees,” Benham added. “Now, there are some good news from our calculator: There’s strong evidence that if employers invest in helping their employees get treatment and sustain recovery, there are real benefits to the workplace.”

Analysis of the data showed that recovered workers, who had been in drug addiction recovery treatment for one year, cost less to their employers than those who were actively using substances, and in some cases, those who successfully completed an addiction treatment program missed fewer work days than the general workforce.