Lionrock CEO Peter Loeb recently contributed an article to about the importance of breaking the stigma of substance use disorders (SUDs) at work.

From a business perspective, the impact of lost productivity due to SUDs has been projected to be $180 billion annually and a significant contributor to rising healthcare costs. Even more jarring: SUDs cost the United States more than $740 billion every year in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses and crime-related costs, according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse.

But beyond the business reasons, the stereotypes surrounding SUDs are so prevalent that many HR professionals don’t recognize the signs among employees. As Peter notes in his article:

“Substance use disorders at work don’t necessarily look like the stereotypical ‘crash and burn,’ lifestyle associated with alcohol and drug abuse. Often workers with SUDs are good employees – good people – who have a healthcare problem. But too often, the stigma of substance use disorders stops them from getting the help they need until, in fact, their SUD progresses so far that they do end up with their job in jeopardy.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, 75 percent of people who need help with substance use disorders don’t get treatment due to shame and stigma. When you consider that 20.7 million Americans need SUD treatment (per the SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health), that’s 15.5 million people who aren’t getting the help they need – and many of them are employed in the U.S workforce.

So what can employers do to break the stigma of SUD at work and help employees get the treatment they need? Learn more by reading Peter’s byline in full here.