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Economic Impact of Methamphetamine Use in Benton County, Arkansas: Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2004
30 pages
This study addressed the increased costs that employers in Benton County (Arkansas) bear as a result of their employees' use of methamphetamine.
This study first conducted a literature review to obtain all recent information on local and national methamphetamine abuse rates; where this information was not available, local and national substance abuse rates were used as a proxy. The literature review then identified previous studies related to the workplace costs of employee methamphetamine and other illegal substance abuse. This effort identified six categories of costs to employers due to employees' methamphetamine use: increased absenteeism, lost productivity, increased turnover, increased employee theft, increased worker compensation claims, and increased health-insurance premium costs. The study then conducted a survey of Benton County employees to determine their methamphetamine use. Fifty-one employers, representing 2,934 workers, agreed to administer the survey to their employees. Responses were received from 648 workers; 4.3 percent of these acknowledged using methamphetamine at some point in their lives, and 0.5 percent reported using it within the last year; 0.9 percent reported taking unplanned sick or personal days because of their methamphetamine use. The final study phase involved a calculation of the cost of employee methamphetamine use to employers in Benton County. On average, the cost to employers annually of employee methamphetamine use was $47,500 per employee, with approximately 50 percent of the cost due to increased absenteeism and another 32 percent due to lost productivity. The total annual cost to Benton County employers due to employees' methamphetamine use is in the range of $20-$21 million. 19 tables and a 26-item annotated listing of publications from the literature review