July 24, 2023

A Moment of Clarity: Alcohol’s Impact Across Workers and Medical Management

The health effects of alcohol have been well-researched for decades, but they have done little to slow down excessive drinking, with an estimated 1 in 6 Americans regularly engaging in binge drinking, and approximately 14.5 million suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD), representing nearly 6% of the U.S. population 18 years of age or older. Unfortunately, this is no surprise, considering how omnipresent alcohol has been in human history.

The earliest evidence of alcohol can be traced to 7,000 BC China in ancient rice wine. The Egyptians brewed beer as early as 3,400 BC, and alcoholic distillation is theorized to have begun in 3,000 BC in India. Virtually every culture has developed some unique alcoholic beverage, often rich with history and pride.

  • 1 in 6 Americans – or 38 million people – binge drink
  • 14.5 million Americans have alcohol use disorder (AUD)
  • Excessive drinking is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths among adults aged 20-49

Drinking culture is unlikely to disappear anytime soon, and while alcohol can be enjoyed responsibly, far too often it is not. The sheer pervasiveness of alcohol in the world can often blind people to the real-world impacts it can have, and workers’ comp is no exception to these impacts.

Alcohol can increase the likelihood of workplace injury and create problems in the workplace. It can also cause a wide range of health consequences that can impact claims management and injured worker recovery, and it can interfere with various medications prescribed in workers’ comp, further complicating recovery.


  1. Industries with the highest rates of heavy alcohol use include mining, construction, and food service
  2. Alcohol use disorder contributes to over 232 million missed workdays annually
  3. Workers with alcohol problems are 2.7x more likely to have injury-related absences
  4. Excessive alcohol use is responsible for a $179 billion loss in workplace productivity
  5. Excessive alcohol use is responsible for $28 billion in healthcare spending

Continue reading the article in full at RxInformer online.

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