Economic Costs of the Opioid Crisis for Employers

August 27, 2020

Report by: Stoddard Davenport, Milliman, Matt Caverly, Milliman and Katie Matthews, Milliman Originally published in Benefits Quarterly, third quarter 2020.

According to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Safety Council, 71% of employers in the United States reported having been affected in some way by employee use of prescription drugs, primarily through absenteeism or impaired performance. The economic costs (both direct and indirect) of nonmedical opioid use are substantial to U.S. employers, not only due to lost productivity but also due to increased health care expenditures, greater costs for workers’ compensation and disability claims, and difficulty meeting recruitment of production targets in regions that experience shortages of healthy workers.