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Americans with addiction miss 50% of their work days: Report

Americans with addiction miss 50% of their work days: Report

Americans with addiction miss 50% of their work days: Report

June 21st, 2017 | ASAH Team

Substance abuse at workplaces is a deleterious practice posing negative consequences to not only the user but to the employer and co-workers as well. A recent survey conducted by the National Safety Council, NORC at the University of Chicago and Shatterproof found that people with substance use disorders have nearly 50 percent more absenteeism than their peers. Despite statistics presenting a horrible picture of workplace substance abuse, employers are still largely ignorant of its impact on business, including increased business costs and loss of human resource.

According to the results of the survey, only 39 percent of employers found prescription drug use at work as a threat to safety while only 24 percent viewed it as a problem to be bothered about. This is despite the fact that 71 percent of the employers admitted to have experienced the issue.

Substance Use Cost Calculator can calculate risks at work

To address the issue of growing prevalence of substance abuse in the work premises and to help employers understand the gravity of the situation, the researchers developed the Substance Use Cost Calculator. The calculator can help employers have an idea of what the crisis means to their workforce.

The calculations from the analysis and survey came up with some striking revelations including:

  • Substance use disorders affect entertainment, recreation, construction and food service businesses two times more than the national average.
  • The prevalence of substance abuse in industries where women and older adults are dominant is less by two-thirds.
  • The prevalence of illicit drug, pain medication and marijuana use disorders is comparatively higher in industries having higher number of workers with alcohol use disorders.
  • Employers are more concerned about parameters such as the ability to hire qualified workers (93%), costs of benefits (95%) and the costs of worker’s compensation (84%). However, they remain ignorant of negative effects of drug misuse, which affects all of those concerns. The employer’s concern for prescription drug misuse and illicit sale or use of drugs is comparatively much lower at 67 percent and 61 percent, respectively.
  • The cost of untreated substance use disorder in agriculture sector accounts for $2,600 per employee and over $13,000 per employee in information and communications sectors.
  • Employees in recovery miss less work days and have less chances of being hospitalized or visiting a doctor.
  • Health care costs for employees with prescription drugs misuse or abuse are three times more than for an average employee.

Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, is of the opinion that businesses that choose to remain ignorant of the prescription drug crisis are harming their business and employees. The cost of lying dormant is far beyond one can foresee. Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Shatterproof, insists that it’s time for employers to address the issue of substance abuse at work. The staggering numbers provide sufficient evidence that addiction-related problems at the workplace need to be addressed immediately.

The Substance Use Cost Calculator can be an effective tool in helping businesses estimate the prevalence of substance use disorders among employees and dependents, other associated expenses and potential savings if employees and their family members undergo treatment for substance use disorders. The employers just have to input some basic details related to their workforce such as industry, location and number of employees. The tool can provide independent costs of prescription pain medication, alcohol, and marijuana and illicit drug use specific to industry and number of employees.

Treatment of substance use disorders in a timely manner

Businesses bear the maximum economic burden of substance use disorders as they significantly contribute to employee absenteeism, lower productivity and increased health care costs. On a personal level, the person addicted to a substance lives a low quality of life marred by frequent mood fluctuations, behavioral outbursts and impaired social and cognitive skills. It is imperative to treat mental health at par with physical health not just for the benefit of the patients but also in the interest of the society and the country’s economy.

The Arizona Substance Abuse Helpline is a 24/7 helpline to help people find substance abuse treatment centers in Arizona. If you are looking for answers to addiction problems in your family or among your friends, you may chat online or call at 866-857-5777 to know about the best substance abuse rehab clinic in Arizona.

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