How Employers Can Identify the Costs of Untreated Substance Use

Thursday, May 12, 2022 | 12:00 – 1:30 PM ET / 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM CT | Virtual - Zoom


Substance misuse is estimated to cost society $442 billion each year.  It’s estimated that the annual cost to US employers, due to employee substance use is $160 billion.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2019, 57.2 million Americans used illicit drugs, and 65.9 million people binge drank in the past month.  Seventy-five percent of those employed, nearly half working for small businesses, and more than 10 million full-time workers had a diagnosable substance use disorder in the past year.

The costs of substance use include lost productivity, presenteeism, workplace accidents, costs to rehire and retrain for positions, absenteeism, increased employee, and family healthcare costs.

Based on data from the NSDUH, the National Safety Council, NORC at University of Chicago and others developed an easy to use, validated, free, employer cost-calculator.  Based on the employer’s location, industry and number of employees, multiple employer costs are estimated for prescription and illicit drugs and alcohol. It separately calculates costs due to lost time, job turnover, healthcare, and others.  It also calculates the benefit from employees who get treatment and allows employers to see those costs savings based on the percent of employees who get treatment. 

This information could be valuable to employers, unions, treatment programs, hospitals and to individuals wondering what substance use disorders truly cost others.  Data from an employer who has a program of hiring individuals in recovery from substance use problems will show the challenges, benefits, and cost savings from hiring those in recovery.

Learning objectives:

  • Upon completion, attendees will be able to describe information on different types of employer costs related to illicit drug or alcohol use including misuse of prescription opioids.
  • As a result of joining this session, attendees will be able to calculate the costs of substance use in the workplace using the free, web-based “Substance Use Cost Calculator for US Employers”.
  • Upon completion, attendees will be able to list the various costs of substance use with employers and discuss the evidence that shows the value of providing treatment and education to employees.

Recovery Centers of America has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7002. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Recovery Centers of America is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. This course qualifies for 1.5 credit hours.