Economic benefit of chemical dependency treatment to employers

Neil Jordan, Grant Grissom*, Gregory Alonzo, Laura Dietzen, Scott Sangsland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Using assessment data from the Substance Abuse Treatment Support System, we estimated the economic benefit of chemical dependency treatment to employers. A cohort of individuals (N = 498) treated at Kaiser Permanente's Addiction Medicine programs in Southern California completed assessments before and at least 30 days after treatment began. Compared to intake, subsequent assessments indicated substantial reduction in the number of patients who missed work, were late for work, were less productive than usual at work, and/or had conflict with coworkers or management. The net economic value of these improvements to their employers depended upon the utilization rate of the benefit and the salary level of the employees receiving treatment. For a utilization rate of 0.9% and a mean annual salary of US$45,000, the net benefit of treatment was US$1,538 for ≥ 61 days of treatment. Based solely upon these employment-related measures, without factoring in the medical cost offset or indirect benefits of treatment that may help employees to maintain higher levels of productivity, employers break even on an investment of US$30 per member per year for a chemical dependency treatment benefit if the mean annual salary of the employees participating in treatment is US$36,565.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008


  • Economic benefit
  • Employers
  • Substance abuse
  • Treatment use
  • Workplace productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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