Opioids, Pain and Absence: The Productivity Implications of Substance Use Among U.S. Workers - Guidance for Employers


The opioid epidemic has resulted in many analyses of the social and economic costs related to the problematic use of heroin and opioid pain relievers. The implications for employers as stakeholders often center on the risk of on-the-job accidents or difficulties in filling job vacancies in areas heavily affected by addiction and dependence. This may not only underrepresent the more pervasive productivity impact of lost work time, but also obscures the larger issues of chronic pain and substance use more generally. This study examines the use and abuse of prescription pain relievers and other substances and their association with absences from work. To help employers develop effective substance abuse management strategies for their workforces, IBI sought input from experts at leading healthcare, benefits and absence management firms. A sample of their guidance follows.

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