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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2005 Jan;28(1):27-33.

Absenteeism and business costs: does substance abuse matter?

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  • 1The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


We conducted an empirical test of the assertion that absenteeism related to substance abuse and dependence among workers is an important contributor to the cost of doing business among American companies, a cost sufficient to motivate firms to aggressively intervene to eliminate abuse and dependence among their employees. The results of this analysis, based on relevant national data sets, suggest that such abuse-based absenteeism is, at best, an incidental cost to business and is insufficient to justify significant prophylactic or therapeutic investments of scarce human resource dollars to achieve an abuse and dependence free workplace. These findings force both public and private sector policymakers to turn to a "hazardous use"/"critical incident" rational as the basis of their argument that American business should invest human resource dollars in specific programs and technologies designed to achieve a drug-free workplace.

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