What is Substance Use Costing Your Organization?
“Self-Care” Options for Employees Struggling with Substance Use, Reduce Costs and Increases Productivity
Behavioral and mental health issues like Substance Use Disorder are costing US organizations in ways you can’t imagine. Recent data shows that as much as 49% of U.S. workers are struggling with alcohol and substance abuse… In fact, substance abuse and addiction have nearly doubled among workers since the pandemic began.
Even though 70% of Americans struggling with substance use disorder are currently employed, due to the high cost, time commitment and fear of negative repercussions, nearly 90% of those struggling will never get any help.
Tearing down these obstacles is the key to a healthy, more productive workforce.
The Business Case for Addressing Substance Use in the Workforce:
Substances Use Disorder Leads to Much Higher Medical Costs:
Medical costs for treating those patients with chronic medical and comorbid mental health/substance use disorder (MH/SUD) conditions can be 7-times as high as for those who don‘t have the comorbid MH/SUD conditions. Even household beneficiaries and family members of someone with Substance Use Disorder are impacted. Beneficiaries and family members living with someone battling substance use disorder have an estimated 3-times the medical costs as someone not living with a person facing substance use disorder.
Early Identification of Substance Use Disorder Saves Money:
A ranking of 25 preventive services recommended by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) based on clinically preventable burden and cost effectiveness found that alcohol screening and intervention rated at the same level as colorectal cancer screening/treatment and hypertension screening/treatment.
Substance Use Employees Miss Much More Work
Substance abusers are absent 16 times more often than other workers – overworking of non-abusing employees and leading to higher replacement costs (SAMHSA (June 2007) Worker Substance Use and Workplace Policies and Programs). The National Safety Council reports that Americans struggling with opioid addiction miss nearly 50 percent more work than the average employee.
Substance Use Leads to Workman Compensation
Drug-using employees are 5 times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim. (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Further, 38% to 50% of all workers’ compensation claims are related to the abuse of alcohol or other drugs in the workplace. (National Council on Compensation Insurance).
Substance Use Leads to Most On the Job Accidents
The United States Department of Labor has reported that drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace causes 65 percent of on-the-job accidents.
Substance Use Leads to Lost Productivity:
Employees who abuse substances work at only two-thirds of their productivity. (American Council for Drug Education as cited by SummitHoldings.com) Substance abusers are absent 16 times more often than other workers – causing lost productivity and overwork of non-abusing employees and higher replacement costs. (SAMHSA (June 2007) Worker Substance Use and Workplace Policies and Programs).
Substance Use Employees are More Likely to Act Inappropriately in the Workplace
Substance abusers are 10 times more likely to steal from the company or from other employees. (Research Triangle Institute, National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Health and Safety News). Further 1 out of 3 sexual assaults are substance use related.
Reduce Substances Use Rates… And You’ll Reduce Costs and Improve Productivity
Drastic Reductions In Near Term Medical Expenses:
Independent Research Kaiser Permanente Northern California analyzed the average medical costs during 18 months after Substance Use Treatment and found that the those who successfully completed treatment (compared with a matched control group) saw these dramatic savings :
- 35% reduction in inpatient cost
- 39% reduction in ER cost
- 26% reduction in total medical cost
Lowers Healthcare Costs of Beneficiaries and Family Members:
Kaiser also found that family members of patients with Substance disorders had high healthcare costs and were more likely to be diagnosed with a number of medical conditions than family members of similar persons without a Substance Use conditions . For families of Substance Use patients who were abstinent at one-year after treatment began, the healthcare costs of family members were no longer higher than other Kaiser members.
Lowers Total Monthly Medical Costs Across the Board:
Comparing disabled Medicaid enrollees receiving Substance Use Treatment with the untreated population, average monthly medical costs were $414 higher for those not receiving treatment, and with the cost of the treatment added in, there was a net cost offset of $252 per month or $3,024 per year. For individuals with opiate-addiction, cost offsets rose to $899 per month for those who remain in methadone treatment for at least one year.
Every $1-Dollar Invested in Substance Use Treatment… Saves over $4-Dollars:
Independent Randomized trials of Screening and Brief Intervention for substance use disorders show that the intervention saves money and improves outcomes. UK: $2.30 cost savings for each $1.00 spent in intervention; US Level 1 Trauma Center: $3.81 cost savings for each $1.00 spent in intervention; U.S. Primary Care Clinic: $4.30 cost savings for each $1.00 spent in intervention.
Slows Compounding Healthcare Expenses in the Future:
Washington State also found that prior to their Substances Use Treatment expansion initiative, healthcare costs for Medicaid disabled clients with Substance Use problems were rising at a rate of 11% per year. Under the Substance Use Treatment expansion initiative, the growth in healthcare costs was slowed to 2.8% per year.
The Surgeon General Agrees!
The Surgeon General’s 2016 report, Facing Addiction in America, notes that the U.S. spends about $35 billion a year to treat substance use disorders, and another $85 billion annually to treat the injuries, infections and illnesses associated with substance use. These numbers continue to grow, with mental health and substance use treatment expected to cost $280.5 billion in 2020.
The Solution: Early Identification and Prevention
Digital transformation is changing all aspects of our lives, so isn’t it time addiction recovery evolves, as well? With new technologies, we can close the gap between those needing behavioral health care and those receiving it.
Freedom 365 Virtual Recovery System takes the content and activities of a substance use rehabilitation program and delivers a self-directed, interactive, digital experience that can be accessed privately, anytime, anywhere from the convenience of your phone, tablet, or computer.
Today you can provide your employees a comprehensive substance use recovery benefit that effectively drives down health insurance premiums, decreases both prescription and workman’s comp claims utilization, and expands access to much needed substance use recovery support.
Freedom 365 compliments your benefits package by providing a private, convenient, affordable, first step (or aftercare program) that tears down barriers to recovery, like the high cost, stigma and inconvenience.
With several self-administered employee assessment tools; an interactive, self-directed recovery program; and easy access to higher-levels of professional care; Freedom 365 empowers employees to take control of their own behavioral and mental health.
Utilization data collected from the Freedom365 platform showed that 78% of users who utilized the system for the entire program length, self-reported remaining alcohol and substance free for a period of 12-full months. Sixty-Six percent of those who utilized the Freedom 365 platform, continued usage for the full length of the program.
Controlling healthcare and other costs associated with substance use will positively impact your bottom-line. An estimated 1 in 5 Americans faces substance use disorder, yet according to NIDA, only 11% of those in need of help, actually get it. Freedom 365 was designed to breakdown the barriers to substance use help by eliminating the high cost, the stigma and the need to take time off from work and personal obligations.