E8: Addiction’s $42B Impact On Business That Your Company Cannot Afford to Ignore
In this episode, I interview Don Hebert, Director of Recovery Services at the Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES). Don shares some shocking statistics about addiction’s impact on business, citing a the fact that the US Surgeon General reports that substance abuse costs the US Economy over $400 billion a year.
Don shares statistics that nearly 1 in 10 people in the work force are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol. The expense to companies associated in dealing with these employees in the form of treatment costs, lack of productivity and employees not showing up for work is astronomical. With a massive shortage of warehouse employees, manufacturer workers and truck drivers, company execs and managers cannot afford not to deal with this problem.
Don shares the huge benefits to companies that are taking this epidemic head on and points to practical things executives can put in place that can help employees recover and become healthy, hard working, loyal individuals that can change the entire culture of the organization.
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Summary & Notes
Don Hebert is the Director of Recovery Services at the Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES). Experience includes Human Resource Management, Consulting, Training and Development, Organizational Development. He can be reached at 973-722-4720 or Dhebert@mcpik.org.
- The US Surgeon General reports that Substance Use Disorder costs the US Economy more than $400 billion a year.
- The National Safety Council reports that over 70% of the people diagnosed with SUD are employed and in the workforce. (That’s a big problem and there are several implications to employers.)
- Substance Use Disorder cost employers almost $42 billion annually because employees were less productive while at work or were not at work at all.
- Employees who mis-use drugs are two to five times more likely to:
- Take unexcused absences.
- Be late for work.
- Quit or be fired within 1 year of employment.
- Be involved in workplace incidents.
- File workers’ compensation claims.
How does addiction affect the manufacturing industry?
Every year, drug use negatively affects the manufacturing industry. Drug abuse causes low productivity, accidents, and injuries in the workplace, employee absenteeism, and lowered morale. All of these things are a drain on companies; they lose billions of dollars due to their employees’ drug abuse.
Research shows the manufacturing industry has been hit particularly hard by drug mis-use. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) recently provided their latest report on substance use and its effects on the workplace. They gathered information from surveys of adults in a variety of manufacturing environments. In 2017, the manufacturing industry saw heavy alcohol use among almost 10 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 employed full time. When it came to illicit drugs, over 7 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 employed full time reported use of illegal drugs. And, when it comes to mis-use, over 9 percent of adults aged 18 to 64 employed full time in the manufacturing industry reported having dependence and addiction to alcohol or drugs.
Effects on Productivity:
Drug use is causing companies to incur many costs which could be avoided. Drug use is also transforming work environments into a far more dangerous place than they should be. When manufacturing employees misuse drugs, productivity is affected. Alcohol mis-use, illicit drugs, and drug use disorders are all associated with negative and unhealthy work behaviors. When workers show up to work under the influence, not only does the worker undermine the company’s operational ability, he or she can also endanger the lives of coworkers.
This is because drug mis-use can negatively influence a person’s mental and physical capabilities, causing them to underperform at their jobs. In manufacturing, this can mean the operation of heavy tools or machinery—tasks which are already dangerous can become deadly.
Alcohol and substance use in the trucking industry
Despite the role that the trucking industry plays in the transportation of goods and its impact on the US economy, it’s been in the limelight for the increasing cases of alcohol and substance use. Truck driving is demanding vocation whose lifestyle may make the drivers fall into the temptation of working under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
The work is physically and mentally taxing. Most of the time, drivers have to travel long hours and have to be away from their families for extended durations. The profession involves immense solitude, sleep deprivation and excessive fatigue. It can be annoyingly repetitive, monotonous, demanding and stressful, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health.
As such, some drivers will take relief in the use of psychoactive substances including opioids that have become a crises in various sectors, the transport industry included. They believe that these substances help fight the sleepiness, solitude, and induce the willingness to work more.
In November 2017, changes were made to the DOT regulations, and the drug testing will now include opioids. The changes to the Part 40 that outlines the procedures for alcohol and drug testing for workers in the transport industry and went into force on January 1, 2018. Many employers mistakenly believe they don’t need to worry about opioid use because they think it’s isolated to a certain type of people, but the truth is it’s become quite common across all demographics.
As time goes by, the pressure and solitude that comes with the job can weigh down on people, and this can expedite substance use to dangerous drugs such as meth and cocaine . What’s taken with innocent intents has far-reaching impacts on the health of the victims not to mention the social and financial implications on the society.
Truck drivers drug, alcohol use and addiction a major cause of truck fatal crashes
Drivers often put health, their lives and those of other road users on the line when they use stimulants to complete a shift. Reuters reports that the use of mind-altering substances such as alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana could be linked to the poor working conditions and long working hours.
During a recent Reuters interview, half of the drivers confessed to drinking and driving while 30-percent of the drivers admitted to using amphetamines. Upon undergoing the test, the Reuters study reveals that American truck drivers recorded the highest number of positives for alcohol use.
Alcohol and drug abuse gives a false job performance impression
Alcohol and substance misuse among the truck drivers risks not only their lives but also that of other road users. Even worse, it comes with an additional problem that gives the employers and the management of the trucking companies an impression that they can handle longer trips than usual.
Therefore, the drivers will be assigned even longer shifts. And to keep up with the rising job demands and pressure, they’ll be forced to use higher doses of the drugs and even seek more potent substances.
As a result, overdose kicks in, addiction is inevitable and the chances of a truck crash occurring rises.
Shocking statistics on truck fatal crashes
Usually, the victims of the truck crashes are the passengers in other vehicles using the same road. Compared to small cars, loaded long trailers will take 20-40 percent farther to stop after applying brakes. It gets worse when using wet and slippery roads or when the brakes are faulty. Combine that with lack of sleep, and fatigue, and it will be pure luck if a crash doesn’t occur.
According to the data and statistics by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 3802 large truck crashes reported in 2012. The report indicates that alcohol and drug use were to blame for the fatal crashes. Additionally, the number of large trucks involved in accidents increased markedly from 63,000 – 77,000 (approximately 22 percent).
Fatality facts by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute reveal that 3986 persons died in large truck crashes in 2017. Sixty-six percent of the total deaths were passengers in other vehicles.
So what’s the answer?
The National Safety Council recommends that at a minimum, employers do the following.
- Educate employees on health and productivity issues related to addiction.
- Train the workforce to recognize and respond to substance mis-use issues, so instances are addressed in uniform, cost-effective and business-sensitive ways.
- Publicize drug-free workplace policies and incorporate guidelines around substance misuse and recovery solutions.
- Clearly communicate information about recovery related workplace wellness programs and strategies.
- Offer health benefits that provide coverage for substance mis-use disorders in “Centers of Excellence.”
- Expand drug testing to include prescription drugs.
- Provide employee assistance programs (EAPs), wellness and work-life programs that include information and services related to substance abuse prevention, treatment, recovery support services, and return to work opportunities.
Through CARES, Don developed a Workforce Recovery Solutions to help businesses stay in front of this epidemic.
Workforce Recovery Solutions is a unique holistic solution that addresses the needs of both employers and employees as it pertains to addiction and sustained recovery. We inform and educate employers about the hard dollar cost addiction has on the bottom line, while providing solutions to mitigate those expenses and help employees realize the reality of a full and productive life of Recovery.
PEOPLE are an organizations greatest asset. It doesn’t matter what kind of business/industry you’re in, if you’re not continually investing in your people it’s impossible to realize your full value and competitive edge. Workforce Recovery Solutions will embrace your people exactly where they are, empower them to realize their own personal best, and together we will evolve and help you achieve and sustain human and economic health.
We realize that your organization is as unique as the people that make up your workforce. Subsequently, addiction has many moving parts to it and contains both universal and unique aspects. It has been said that addiction is not a cookie cutter condition, therefore we must not approach recovery with a cookie cutter solution. This is why we have developed a standardized process when engaging with every client organization. Our process enables us to consistently deliver the most comprehensive solution that includes holistic and effective ways to manage the cost of addiction in the workplace.
- Data collection: We will conduct an organizational readiness evaluation that will capture the resources clients already have in place. This will provide us a snap-shot into your organization’s current reality.
- Data Assessment: We will analyze your responses to the assessment and determine where any gaps may currently reside.
- Solution Prescription: We will prescribe and design a project plan that’s unique to your people and your organization.
- Delivery: We will deliver specific programs, services, and events that will help you better manage addiction from a people focused-financial impact perspective.
- Follow up: We will provide follow up services based on your level of interest and investment. Our goal is to help your people realize their personal best, while helping your organization achieve its goals and objectives.
|Organizational Readiness Assessment||This questionnaire asks the client to answer specific questions in order for us to gain insight into the types of tools, resources, and programs they currently have in place or do not have in place to manage the cost of addiction.|
|Substance Use Policies||Based on the results of the organizational readiness assessment, we can amend or create a client’s substance use policy, drug testing policy, and return to work policy.|
|Education and Workforce Training||We can design and deliver specific training based on the results of the Organizational Readiness Assessment or based on specific client identified needs. These trainings are live, on-site events. Training topics and subject matter may include content directly from the Substance Use Policies, NARCAN training, Substance Use Disorder, Multiple Pathways of Recovery, Safety Training, and How to Respond Effectively to an Opioid Overdose. (Just to name a few.)|
|Employee Engagement and Incentive Programs
|We can implement engagement and recognition programs in a fun and creative way. This will involve utilizing technology to socialize content messages covered in the training topics mentioned above to keep relevant information top of mind for the entire workforce. Program participants will have the opportunity to win prizes based on participation.|
|Peer Recovery Specialists||Clients will have direct access to trained peer support. Peer Recovery Specialists are certified by the International Accreditation Board. These individuals Have lived experience in recovery and are highly trained to meet people where they are, listen for Understanding, and work with individuals at every stage of recovery. We can offer a better than 80% Success rate in helping people with their recovery.|
|Centers of Excellence||Health and Welfare professionals are available to help individuals identify treatment services that have earned and maintained a “Center of Excellence” status. This means that our clients can have direct access to the most comprehensive addiction recovery treatment at a reasonable price.|
Don is certain that he and his group can help mitigate some of the expenses that come with addiction. Call him today at Don Hebert at 973-722-4720.
Hi, I’m George Muha and I’m very geeky about logistics and supply chain stuff and I love learning new things. I created this podcast so others can learn along with me. If you found this podcast helpful, please feel free to share it with someone you know who will benefit from it and follow me through my social channels.