Employer Initiative


work full-time


cost of addiction to employers each year


cost to the overall US economy
due to addiction

Employers can and do Play a Critical Role in Addressing Addiction

Addiction impacts workplaces and businesses all around the country. Of adults with a substance use disorder, approximately 12 million (60%) are employed full-time. In addition to higher absenteeism and lower job productivity and performance, substance use disorders also lead to greater health care expenses for injuries and illnesses. Overall, addiction costs employers around the country nearly $100 billion, and the economy more than $1 trillion per year.

It is essential that employers understand the science of addiction, it's prevalence among working adults, and the costs related to productivity, workplace injuries, and health.

Addiction Policy has launched the Employer Initiative to help employers support their associates through prevention, treatment and recovery.


5 Steps to Support Employers and Employees

The Addiction Policy Employer Initiative Partnership includes educational materials to share with employees, along with access to a 24/7 alcohol and drug helpline staffed by counselors.

The helpline will also offer employers and employees the ability to receive advice on how to address an issue with a person they suspect may have a substance use disorder.

  1. Sign the Pledge: Companies can sign on in support of addressing addiction as a disease and public health problem through initiatives that reduce the risks associated with addiction, enable early diagnosis, facilitate access to treatment, and hasten the discovery of effective therapies.
  2. Educate and Raise Awareness: Provide education and awareness briefings (e.g. lunch-and-learn) and executive education to address addiction as a disease through evidence-based distance learning, and live content and training sessions on key topics such as prevention and early intervention.
  3. Adopt Sound Policies: Establish policies to enable prevention, early intervention, and treatment of substance use disorders in the workplace. Implement programs to recognize and support employees and their families impacted by substance use disorder, including approved leave for treatment, recovery support, family programs, and non-alcoholic corporate events.
  4. Access an employer-specific 1-800 call-in number with round-the-clock access to counselors and treatment referrals.
  5. Become a Gold Standard Company: Be recognized as a gold standard leader in the employer field by implementing educational programs, establishing positive policies around addiction, providing health insurance plans with adequate coverage for substance use disorders, and by selecting an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that addresses SUD with evidence-based approaches and services.

How to Become a Gold Standard Company

Implement Educational Programs

A great place to start is learning the science of addiction. Arm yourself with the knowledge, science and language to understand the disease of addiction. Learn more about substance use disorder in Addiction 101.

Build Positive Policies Around Addiction

The language often used to describe addiction is been inaccurate and marginalizing. Up your vocabulary, so you can talk the talk as you walk the walk of supporting your employees in their treatment and recovery process. Learn all you need to know with Language Matters.

Provide Health Insurance Plans with Adequate Coverage for Substance Use Disorders

Treatment works, but only if your employees can afford it. Providing plans with adequate coverage for evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders is critical to supporting your team member.

Adopt an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that Addresses SUD with Evidence-based Approaches and Services.

Addiction Policy Forum is determined to reach the 12 million Americans and their families who rely on employers to offer a helping hand as they seek assistance to address their disease. Will you and your company join us in tackling this illness affecting millions of employees throughout the country? Learn more about companies implementing the Employer Initiative to build a better workplace for their teams.


Partner with Addiction Policy
and Support your Employees with SUD


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