Stockholders Up In Arms? –  

July 9, 2019 – Substance use disorder is a mental health disorder that has expensive and destructive effects on both the person who is suffering, and the people around them. The loss to companies in the United States due to alcohol and drug problems by employees totals $100 billion a year, according to The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. People who struggle with addiction are more likely to miss work, file worker’s compensation claims, and have interpersonal issues with other employees. The turnover rate is higher, as well. People with drug-related convictions on their record may not even be able to find meaningful employment, because they’re legally disqualified from working. 

We are stakeholders in the drug epidemic, the same way businesses are stakeholders in the ebb and flow of the stock market. In an economy of people rather than dollars, every action has a ripple effect. Americans spend approximately one-third of their lives at work. Leaving addiction at the door when someone clocks in, is impossible. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), shows that between 2008 and 2012, “an annual average of 8.7 percent of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 used alcohol heavily in the past month.” As many as 8.6 percent of employees used illegal drugs in that same timeframe, and 9.5 percent of America’s workforce was “dependent on, or abused, alcohol or illegal drugs in the past year.” Ignoring or penalizing the problem solves nothing. We have to take action.

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