Printed from

Opioids cost employers $96B in lost productivity: Study

Posted On: Oct. 18, 2019 12:07 PM CST


U.S. employers lost $96 billion in lost productivity costs between 2015 and 2018 due to the opioid epidemic, according to a study released Tuesday by the Society of Actuaries.

The Schaumburg, Illinois-based association concluded that costs associated with absenteeism, reduced labor force participation, opioid-related incarceration and employer costs for workers compensation and disability benefits make up 15% of total costs of non-medical opioid use to the U.S. economy.

Non-medical use of opioids cost employers $362 million in 2015 and grew to $500 million in 2018, according to the report. Short-term disability costs due to opioid use increased from $312 million in 2015 to $417 million in 2018, and long-term disability costs rose from $28 million to $58 million during that same period.

The report also estimated that additional disability and workers compensation costs for employees with opioid use disorder totaled more than $3.4 billion from 2015 to 2018, with workers comp accounting for the largest share of costs. The study predicts these additional disability and comp costs could range from a little under $1 billion to $1.2 billion in 2019 due to cost and population increases.