Estimating Absenteeism Related to Nonalcohol Substance Use in a US National Cohort of Full-Time Employees

J Occup Environ Med. 2022 Nov 1;64(11):899-904. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002612.


Objective: We aimed to estimate absenteeism due to substance use disorder among full-time employees.

Methods: We used the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health to identify a sample of individuals employed full time. We used a survey-weighted multivariable negative binomial model to evaluate the association between absenteeism and type of substance use disorder controlling for available demographic information.

Results: In the adjusted model, we estimated that opioid use without a disorder had the highest absenteeism for use, and polysubstance use disorder had the highest absenteeism among use disorders. In a hypothetical firm of 10,000 employees, we estimate $232,000 of lost wage value annually.

Conclusions: Substance use is associated with absenteeism and presents a compelling argument for employers to promote programs that support treatment for employees and reduce downstream costs associated with absenteeism and turnover.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost of Illness
  • Employment
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / epidemiology