Drug Detox and Rehab Financed by Employers Could Save Millions

Drug Detox and Rehab Financed by Employers Could Save Millions

More than 63 percent of American workers abuse alcohol, and more than 13 percent abuse drugs. Alcohol and drug addiction costs America's employers more than $160 billion annually in accidents, lost productivity and other drug and alcohol abuse related problems. Fortunately, employers paying for a drug detox and rehab for employees is becoming the norm, and it's likely to save corporations far more than they're spending. How big a problem is alcohol and drug addiction and abuse in the workplace? Here are some startling facts from the U.S. Department of Health:
  • 80 percent of drug abusers steal from their workplaces to support their drug use.
  • Substance abuse is the third leading cause of workplace violence.
  • Substance abusing employees are 33 percent less productive than their co-workers, and on average cost their employers $7,000 annually.
  • Up to 40 percent of industrial fatalities can be linked to substance abuse.
  • Substance abusing employees are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in workplace accidents and five times more likely to file a workers' compensation claim.
  • According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, nearly half of all workers' compensation claims are related to substance abuse.
  • Substance abusers are three times more likely to use medical benefits than other employees.

Drugs and alcohol are ruining lives of alcoholics, addicts, their friends and family, no question about it, but they're also affecting every taxpayer. In addition to the $160 million costs to employers, our taxes are used to fund state-run alcohol and drug detox and rehab programs, our health insurance rates are so high that many Americans have none, our auto insurance is exorbitant even for drivers with impeccable records, we fund shelters and other services for the homeless, we support prisons, prison staffs and prisoners - many of whose crimes are alcohol and drug-related. We fund hospitals, doctors, ridiculous emergency room fees. We support welfare recipients who take their check and head straight to the liquor store, in a taxi. We pay for battered wives, abused children, and burial services for those who didn't make it. We fund local law enforcement, federal task forces, the DEA, the National Council on Drug Abuse and countless other entities - some of which have hundreds or thousands of employees who simply gather statistics so we can see how bad the situation is.

Where doesn't the money go? Into the one thing that could do more to handle the problem than all other efforts combined - drug detox programs and long-term residential drug rehab programs that actually work. What's wrong with this picture?

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