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Drug Use in the Workforce

Substance Use Cost Calculator Methodology

  • ​The Substance Use Calculator for Business was designed by the National Safety Council, Shatterproof and NORC at the University of Chicago. This easy-to-use tool gives employers information about the impact of alcohol, prescription opioid and illicit drug use in the workplace, and what they can do to increase the safety, health and productivity of their employees.

    This document describes in detail the methods behind the numbers.

    Alcohol, prescription pain medication and other drug-use disorders are among the most common and costly health conditions affecting Americans. Alcohol contributes to 88,000 deaths each year – one in 10 deaths among working adults is alcohol related. Of the 47,055 deaths in 2014 from a drug overdose, 28,647 were from prescription opioid or heroin use.

    The cost of substance use to businesses may not be as apparent. The national bill for substance use is estimated at more than $400 billion a year, but companies remain largely in the dark about how substance use impacts their bottom line.

    The Calculator gives a simple estimate of the financial toll faced by individual businesses and illuminates an area with significant potential for cost reduction and improved productivity.

Methodology Paper

This document describes in detail how estimates are tallied for the Substance Use Cost Calculator for Employers.

Download the Methodology

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The National Safety Council eliminates preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

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