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Employer Initiative

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

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.


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