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3 Reasons Employers Should Be Treating Addiction as a Workplace Illness

When we think of addiction, we often think of people who are deep in the illness. They’ve lost their jobs and seem completely out of control.  And while this is sometimes an accurate picture, far more common is the high-functioning employee with a substance use disorder.  Over 77% of those who struggle with addiction are employed.  And when about 4% of Canadians meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, we have a lot of employees who need help. So why should you, as an employer, consider funding treatment for you workforce? Here are three great reasons:

1. Substance Use Disorders Cost You Money

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The costs of addiction in the workplace pile up. Between absenteeism, increased workplace accidents, poof performance, disability claims, lateness and eventually replacing an employee, we’re talking some serious money here. They are 3.5 times more likely to cause an accident and they function at only two-thirds their regular capacity. On average, addiction affects attendance and performance every three days. As you can see, the actual monetary costs are high, but there are also costs to your work environment and culture. Since most workplaces are collaborative, it’s pretty likely the performance of one employee will affect the performance of their team members. You may even lose valuable people who do not want to work with someone in active addiction.

2. Good Mental Health Means Productive Employees

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When someone receives quality treatment, there are huge benefits to the employer.  Absenteeism drops by 76%, lateness by 91% and productivity soars by 76%. It just makes good financial sense; whatever an employer spends on residential treatment will made up for in the productivity of that employee.  In fact, based on the average Canadian wage of $26.10 per hour, an employer will save $6447.00 per year.  This means that in less than a year, you’ve recouped the cost of our IOP programs.  And in less than 4 years, you’ve offset average the cost of residential treatment. And that’s just the money you save on the individual, not to mention his or her coworkers.

3.  You Help More Than Just One Person

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While we’ve mentioned a lot of figures here, the case for funding treatment for employees is not only about money. When you take care of the well-being of your employees, you show them that they matter. You’re investing in their future, and the future of their family. Addiction can run in families and by helping your employee to get well, you are changing the lives of their spouse, their parents and their children.  And when employees feel that they are and their families matter to you, they are more likely to be loyal, engaged and happy members of your team. Your choice will benefit society too – research shows that addiction treatment is associated with lower healthcare costs and lower crime rates.

We believe so strongly in the role of employers in treatment that we consider them a partner in the process. We provide you with weekly updates, drug screening results, and involve you in any crises management. If you’re an employer who wants to know more about how we can help your teams, please call 647-748-5501 or head to