Substance Use Disorder in the Workplace:
RCA Resources for HR & EAP Professionals

How Addiction Hurts Your Employees’ Health

It’s no secret that addiction is on the rise, bringing with it increased workplace injuries, absenteeism and turnover. The devastating impact on employees’ health is compounded by rising costs to employers and, ultimately, co-workers on shared health plans.

The hard reality is that over 14 million Americans struggle with substance abuse, with 70% of them being currently employed.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 8.4% of full-time employees use illicit drugs and another 8.8% report abusing alcohol.

Further, according to data from the US Department of Labor, employees dealing with substance abuse see a 25-30% decrease in productivity and miss work three times more frequently than their colleagues.

They may fly under the radar for a while, appearing more or less well-functioning. But appearances aside, addiction or substance use disorder (SUD) will take a worsening toll on your employees’ work, family, and life in general.

How Addiction Challenges Your Company

In addition to your employees’ health and well-being, your company’s bottom line will also take a hit. According to current estimates, average annual SUD costs amount to:

If you haven’t considered the cost of addiction at your organization, we encourage you to try this free National Safety Council Employer Cost Calculator for substance use.

Employees suffering from SUD not only compromise their own productivity but also negatively affect the overall efficiency and work environment of their co-workers. Some of its common consequences include

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Absenteeism
  • Tardiness
  • Poor decision-making
  • Decreased productivity
  • Higher turnover rate
  • Interpersonal problems among employees

It’s evident, then, that the benefits of promoting a healthy workplace reverberate throughout the company.

How You Can Begin to Address the Issue

In general, maintaining an open and proactive stance is the best way to begin to address the issue of workplace SUD. Company policies and resources should be made clear and widely available in advance, as well as promoting a free space to discuss concerns about substance abuse.

In devising and implementing your own company policy, here are some important considerations:

  • A working definition of substance abuse
  • The purpose of the policy
  • Who the policy includes
  • Details of drug and alcohol testing
  • How to ensure privacy and confidentiality in handling individual cases of SUD
  • Educational and training resources
  • Procedures for identifying and reporting cases of SUD
  • Disciplinary protocols
  • Plans for assistance

Read more about the impact of addiction in the workplace and how employers can help address and prevent substance abuse in an article by Deni Carise, PhD, Chief Science Officer for RCA.

How Recovery Centers of America Helps You Help Your Employees

You can turn to Recovery Centers of America, which partners with companies like yours to make addiction treatment accessible, affordable and effective. Because we’re in-network with most major insurance providers, we help keep your premiums low year after year. Here’s how:

  • We work with you at no cost to develop a substance use disorder (SUD) program for your employees and their families.
  • As a recovery-friendly workplace, your employees know they can safely seek help and feel confident you’ve selected an evidence-based treatment plan at RCA.
  • Patients receive quality care at one of our local facilities, offering 24/7 admissions, robust specialty programs, and a thriving alumni community for life-long recovery.
  • A dedicated, single point of contact at RCA keeps you updated on patient progress.
  • After treatment patients experience fewer symptoms, which reduces injury and claims losses, and improves daily productivity.

To promote the health and flourishing of all parties involved, let us help you get your employees the care they need.

Call Recovery Centers of America 1-800-RECOVERY now if you know someone who needs immediate help, or submit a form to connect with business development.

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