New tool allows employers to calculate ‘real cost’ of prescription drug misuse

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Citing “a persistent gap between employer perceptions of impact and the actual human and business costs of substance use,” the National Safety Council – together with Shatterproof and NORC at the University of Chicago – has released The Real Cost of Substance Use to Employers calculator.

To use the calculator, employers input basic statistics about their workforce, such as industry, location and number of employees. The results show the estimated prevalence of substance use disorders among employees and dependents, associated costs, and potential savings if employees and their family members receive treatment.

Substance use disorders affect 20.8 million Americans, 75 percent of whom are employed, according to NSC.

“Businesses that do not address the prescription drug crisis are like ostriches sticking their head in the sand,” NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a press release. “The problem exists and doing nothing will harm your employees and your business. As the tool shows, the cost of inaction is far too great.”