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Opioid addiction is costing employers billions

Posted on 06-04-15 in Addiction

Opioid addiction is costing employers billions

A study recently conducted by Healthentic, an analytics company that helps employers identify health savings, found that 13 percent of prescription opioid users are likely to become chronic users. These employees account for 92 percent of employer’s overall health care costs. These alarming statistics mirror the nation-wide issue regarding prescription opioid abuse.

Prescription drug addiction is the largest drug epidemic in our country currently, taking more lives than all other illegal drugs combined. There are many cases where people using the opioids as prescribed for chronic pain eventually find themselves addicted and facing even bigger problems than before. The study also analyzed different causes for concern for employers who are watching out for employees with a possible prescription drug addiction. Seven percent of people who have been prescribed an opioid in the last four years showed to have two or more reasons for concern when it comes to prescription abuse. Such concerns noted on the study include:

  • Having prescribed supply of controlled medications for 120 days or more
  • 10 or more prescriptions for opioids
  • A week or more of overlapping benzodiazepine and opioid prescriptions

The CEO of Healthentic, Jeff O’Mara states that “opioid misuse costs employers in multiple ways including more medical costs and productivity loss.” On average, opioid abuse costs the U.S. economy $55.7 billion annually and almost half of that cost comes from employers who pay a total of $25.6 billion every year. This includes about $10 billion coming from productivity loss.

Deaths from drug overdoses have risen dramatically over the decade with prescription drug abuse contributing heavily to this rise. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both the number of deaths resulting from prescription drug overdoses and the number of prescriptions written for narcotics have quadrupled since 1999. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, prescription opioid abuse is responsible for three-quarters of all prescription drug overdoses and is responsible for more deaths than any other drug.

Prescription opioid abuse has been on the rise and leaves millions addicted and afraid to ask for help. Sovereign Health Group is among the leading drug addiction treatment centers in the country. We offer various inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for patients dealing with drug addiction, mental health disorders and dual diagnosis. If you know someone who is struggling with drug addiction and is in need of treatment, please contact us at any time and one of our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right treatment options for you.

Written by Benjamin Creekmore, Sovereign Health Group writer