Just How Much Is The Opioid Crisis Affecting US Employers?

The opioid crisis in the United States has been a major public health issue for many years, and its impact extends far beyond the individuals who are struggling with addiction. One group that is particularly affected by the opioid crisis is employers, who are facing significant costs as a result of the epidemic. In this article, we will explore just how much money the opioid crisis is costing employers in the United States.

Opioid abuse

According to a study by the National Safety Council, the cost of opioid abuse in the workplace is around $41 billion each year. This cost is primarily due to a decrease in productivity and an increase in healthcare expenses. Employees who are struggling with opioid addiction are more likely to miss work or be less productive when they are on the job, which can result in lost revenue for their employers.

Another factor contributing to the cost of the opioid crisis is the increased use of healthcare services. Employees who are struggling with opioid addiction may require more medical attention, which can lead to higher healthcare costs for both the individual and their employer. This is particularly true for companies that offer healthcare benefits to their employees, as they may be responsible for covering a portion of the costs associated with addiction treatment.

The cost of the opioid crisis is not limited to healthcare expenses and lost productivity, however. Employers may also face increased legal costs if they are found to be negligent in their response to the crisis. This can include lawsuits from employees who have been injured as a result of the opioid epidemic, or legal action taken by government agencies to hold employers accountable for their role in contributing to the crisis.

In addition to these financial costs, the opioid crisis can also have a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of a company’s workforce. Employees who are struggling with addiction may experience increased stress, anxiety, and depression, which can lead to a decrease in morale and a more negative work environment. This can further exacerbate the loss of productivity and financial costs associated with the opioid epidemic.

In response to the opioid crisis, many employers have taken steps to support their employees and mitigate the impact of the epidemic on their business. This includes offering employee assistance programs (EAPs) that provide confidential counselling and access to detox clinics, as well as support for those struggling with addiction, implementing drug-free workplace policies, and providing training for supervisors and managers to better recognize and respond to signs of addiction.


The opioid crisis in the United States is costing employers billions of dollars each year in lost productivity, increased healthcare expenses, and legal costs. This crisis is not only a public health issue but also a business issue, and employers have a role to play in mitigating its impact.

By taking proactive steps to support their employees and prevent opioid addiction in the workplace, employers can help to reduce the financial and social costs of the opioid epidemic and create a healthier and more productive workforce.