For years, employers and small businesses have weathered the impacts of substance misuse and substance use disorder (SUD). Absenteeism, workers’ comp claims, and unreliable job performance are some of the ways that substance use disorders can shrink a business’ bottom line. In fact, the annual cost to a business of a single employee with an untreated substance use disorder ranges from $2,600 to $13,000, depending on the industry. When you account for the fact that seventy-five percent of folks with an untreated SUD are currently employed in the U.S. workforce, that annual cost totals to a considerable sum.

However, there is hope! SUD is a preventable and treatable disease! Not only is prevention and recovery possible, but it is good for business and good for employees.

Employees in recovery:

  • Take less unscheduled leave. Employees in recovery take less unscheduled leave than employees with SUD and the general workforce.
  • Stay in their jobs. Employees in recovery have the lowest turnover rates compared to employees with SUD and the general workforce.
  • Have lower healthcare costs. Employees in recovery are less likely to be hospitalized and have few doctor’s visits than their peers and than workers with an untreated SUD.
  • Have tremendous resilience. Many folks in recovery have overcome staggering obstacles. They have been to rock bottom and, through determination and grit, survived to tell their tale. This important leadership quality can positively impact a company culture.

Check out this business owner’s experience with hiring folks in recovery, and go to our webpage for more ideas of how you can help prevent SUD among your employees.

Source: Goplerud, E., Hodge, S., & Benham, T. (2017). A Substance Use Cost Calculator for US Employers With an Emphasis on Prescription Pain Medication Misuse. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine59(11), 1063–1071.