Drug Use in the Workforce: Methodology

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, opioid and other drug-use disorders are among the most common and costly health conditions affecting Americans. More than 72,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017. Over 47,000 of those deaths involved opioids. Over 2 million Americans suffer from an opioid use disorder.

The cost of substance use to businesses may not be as apparent. The White House Council of Economic Advisors further estimated that the opioid crisis alone cost the U.S. economy $696 billion alone in 2018. 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. It also helps businesses see how much they can save by supporting employees through treatment and into recovery.

Methodology Paper

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

Download the Methodology