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© 2019 University of Maryland School of Social Work

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Objective: Substance use disorders are among the most common and costly health conditions affecting Americans. Despite estimates of national costs exceeding $400 billion annually, individual companies may not see how substance use impacts their bottom lines through lost productivity and absenteeism, turnover, health care expenses, disability, and workers’ compensation. Methods: Data on employed adults (18 years and older) from 3 years (2012 to 2014) of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health Public Use Data Files were analyzed. Results: The results offer employers an authoritative, free, epidemiologically grounded, and easy-to-use tool that gives specific information about how alcohol, prescription pain medication misuse, and illicit drug use is likely impacting workplaces like theirs. Conclusion: Employers have detailed reports of the cost of substance use that can be used to improve workplace policies and health benefits.

We are in the grips of an opioid epidemic. You only need to peek under the surface to see that the pain giving rise to addiction is both psychological and societal. National studies show increases in suicide rates, alcoholism, depression, sleep, fatigue and stress. Now add in the rise of stress-related disorders, positive drug-test rates and social polarization, and it's clear the effect on worker health and productivity is serious.

In this Keynote address for the 2017 International Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) Annual Conference, Dr. Paul Roman provides a rare exploration of the foundational thinking behind the creation of EAP Core Technology and an examination of its inherent adaptability today. Presented as an interview with EAPA CEO Greg DeLapp, expect an insightful, at times biting, sometimes humorous look at the movement from a central focus on alcoholism through the current workplace challenges of opioids, cannabis, behavioral health, wellness, and significant changes in the world of work itself. Discussions include EAP intent, approaches to service delivery, the re-emergence of EAP focus on addiction, EAP consultation, and the future of employee assistance as a profession. Dr. Roman, has been at the University of Georgia since 1986. He received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University in 1968. He is an expert on the management of substance dependence in the workplace, macro and micro dynamics of the treatment of alcoholism, and implementation of policies in workplaces.

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