Five Things Employers Need to Know About Alcohol
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week is a time when the health care community unites in a valiant attempt to dispel the myths, tropes and misinformation that contribute to teen drug and alcohol misuse. With the number of teens engaging in heavy drinking topping 1.3 million, it’s critical that we empower young adults with the information they need to stay healthy.
But young people are not the only ones in need of education. A staggering 15 million adults have an alcohol use disorder and one in four of all adults binge drink. These figures are of particular interest to business leaders, because three-quarters of binge drinkers work for a living. The epidemic of heavy drinking stretches across states and touches each and every industry. It’s not a matter of if you have any employees who binge drink. You have employees who binge drink. That was true last year, and it will also be true next year, unless you join the business leaders nationwide who have decided that now is the time to start tackling this health crisis.
If “crisis” strikes you as a bit of an overstatement, I would encourage you to consider the following this Drug and Alcohol Facts Week:
Popular culture and inspiring stories of personal redemption create false perceptions of heavy drinking. Fortunately, the National Institutes of Health and medical community have moved beyond the imprecision of value-laden terms like “alcoholic” and created a concise description of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.
High-risk drinking is responsible for $82 billion of lost workplace productivity annually. Yes, some regions or industries are more impacted than others, but don’t be mistaken: Heavy drinking is a problem everywhere, across every economic spectrum.
High risk drinking costs an additional $28 billion annually in healthcare spending, on top of the hit to productivity.
Heavy drinking is also a contributor to many of the other costliest chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, breast cancer and other cancers. In fact, heavy drinking is the third highest cause of preventable death – behind smoking and obesity – and drives as much annual medical spending as diabetes.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Until relatively recently, there was a dearth of available, quality alternatives. That’s now changing rapidly and Annum is proud to be among the leading innovators in this space. We offer a modern alternative to rehab for heavy drinking, with a particular focus on mild- to moderate AUD, where the vast majority of heavy drinkers fall and where fewest treatment options exist today. We partner with large employers who view heavy drinking as a workforce development issue, offering an initial assessment to 100% of their workforce and, if clinically indicated, evidence-based treatment.