How much can substance abuse really cost my company?

employee discussing substance abuse issues

An employer with even one employee with an opioid addiction or other substance abuse problem can face risks to the business and other employees’ well-being. An employee who has a family member struggling with addiction can impact productivity, too. This is why it’s important to know: how much can substance abuse really cost my company?

Effects on your business

Employee substance abuse is more common and costly than you may think. Connecticut ranks 5th in opioid-related ER visits in the U.S.1 and in 2016, U.S. employers shouldered more than 20% of the $78.5B opioid crisis costs2.

Here are some of the ways employee substance abuse could affect your business and wallet:

  • Higher absenteeism and workplace injuries
  • Lower job productivity and performance
  • Greater health care costs
  • Increased workers’ compensation and disability claims

Effects on other employees

Don’t overlook how an employee with a substance abuse problem can impact others. Someone who’s struggling with addiction or under the influence on the job may not only create an uncomfortable work environment for others, but also contribute to:

  • Lowering the productivity of others
  • Unsafe work practices, risking injury to others
  • Increased risk of workplace harassment, exposing you to legal action from affected employees
  • Unpleasant work environments resulting in employee turnover and rehiring expenses

If you have an employee you suspect of having a substance abuse problem or that you know has a family member struggling with addiction, follow your company’s protocol for addressing the issue.

1 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Patient Characteristics of Opioid-Related Inpatient Stays and Emergency Department Visits Nationally and by State. June 2017.

2 Opioid Crisis Hits State Employers Hard. The Connecticut Business & Industry Association. 8/29/17. Accessed 1/29/18.