Economic Impact

Approximately 24 million people in the United States abuse illicit substances and nearly 18 million abuse alcohol. Every 19 minutes, a person overdoses on prescription drugs. Thousands of families, friends, employers and communities are directly affected by drug and alcohol abuse. Addiction increases the number of children in foster care, child abuse, sexual assaults and prison sentences. It decrease productivity and causes work-related injuries. The annual cost of addiction is an estimated $600 billion in lost revenue, health care, legal fees and damages.

Addiction in the Workplace

Each drug user in the workplace can cost an employer an average of $11,000 to $13,000 annually in workplace-related injuries, absenteeism and health care premiums.

Workers with alcohol problems are 2.7 times more likely to have injury-related absences.

Up to 40 percent of industrial fatalities and 47 percent of industrial injuries are linked to alcoholism and alcohol consumption.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that 75 percent of people struggling with a drug or alcohol problem are currently employed.

Addiction in the Family

Loved ones, especially children, are the hardest hit by the effects of someone struggling with addiction. Children of addicts often lack basic necessities like food and shelter and have little to no health care. Families with at least one drug-addicted parent are more likely to end up homeless or in poverty.

Drug or alcohol abuse in the primary cause of over 75 percent of all children being placed in foster care. Addiction is cited as the primary factor in 80% of all child abuse and neglect cases.

Children of addicts are eight times more likely to become addicts as adults.

Addiction in the Legal System

Drug-related incarcerations make up over 50 percent of federal prison populations and nearly 20 percent of state prison populations.

The International Narcotics Control Board study stated that in the U.S., “17 percent of state prisoners and 18 percent of federal inmates said they had committed the offense for which they were currently serving a sentence to obtain money for drugs.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates an average cost $24,000 per prisoner for one full year imprisonment.

As more people become addicted to illicit and prescription drugs, the illegal drug market grows. The cost of staffing and training law enforcement to contend with these issues rises exponentially as the drug trade increases.

Addiction and Health Care

NIDA estimates health care costs related to drug and alcohol abuse are $232 billion annually, with the majority being absorbed by hospitals and tax payers through Medicare and Medicaid. Tobacco accounts for $168 billion; alcohol $27 billion; illicit drugs $11 billion; and prescription opioids $26 billion.

Addiction has far-reaching consequences across all economic and societal groups. It impacts everyone through higher taxes and insurance premiums, lower workplace productivity and the abuse and neglect of children in every community. It knows no boundaries.