Hidden Costs of Employees Using Drugs

The Hidden Costs of Having Drug Abusing EmployeesThe Federal Government and business community are increasingly recognizing the hidden costs of employees using drugs.

Abuse of drugs and alcohol is costly for our society. And, left untreated, places a burden on our workplace, our healthcare system, and our communities.

A number of reports and surveys highlight the detrimental effects substance abuse has on business productivity.  It also affects our competitiveness. Further, workplace injuries and absenteeism also increase.

The following data provide a stark illustration of consequences of drug use in our society.

Economic Costs

The hidden costs of employees using drugs in the United States was estimated at $193 billion in 2007, the last available estimate. This value includes:Syringe

  • $120 billion in lost productivity, mainly due to labor participation costs, participation in drug abuse treatment, incarceration, and premature death;
  • $11 billion in healthcare costs – for drug treatment and drug‐related medical consequences; and
  • $61 billion in criminal justice costs, primarily due to criminal investigation, prosecution and incarceration, and victim costs.

Turnover and Absenteeism

  • From 2002 to 2004, full‐time workers aged 18‐64 who reported current illicit drug use were more than twice as likely as those reporting no current illicit drug use to report they had worked for three or more employers in the past year (12.3% versus 5.1%).Obama Golf
  • In the same period, full‐time workers who were current drug users were more likely to report missing two or more workdays in the past month due to illness or injury, when compared with workers who were not current users (16.4% vs. 11.0%).
  • Full‐time workers who were current drug users also were about twice as likely as non‐users to skip one or more days of work in the past month (16.3% vs. 8.2%).

The hidden costs of employees using drugs affects all of us in terms of excessive healthcare burdens, more expensive insurance, and higher costs for goods and services.  Not to mention the effects of growing drug abuse on America’s youth.

Source: The Office of National Drug Control Policy. https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/how-illicit-drug-use-affects-business-and-the-economy

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