The risk of opioid abuse across industries.

Intelligence Findings
In our recent Intelligence report, Employee Health Trends 2020, our team of Health Strategists examined our Health Intelligence platform data* to uncover emergent trends and offer critical insights to HR and benefits leaders in the year ahead. One critical area of exploration was opioid use and potential abuse.


Opioid abuse can be debilitating and even life-threatening to employees and their dependents. Outside of the primary risk of overdosing, opioid abuse can also lead to workplace problems like decreased performance and productivity, increased absenteeism, and increased risk of workplace injuries.

Our data shows that 3.3% of all members are at high risk for opioid abuse, but that risk increases within a few industries, age groups, and chronic conditions. For example, government, construction, and nonprofit represent the top three industries with an increased risk of opioid abuse.



Industries With the Highest Risk of Opioid Abuse

  • Government (5%)
  • Construction (4.4%)
  • Not-for-profit/Religious Organizations (4.1%)
  • Healthcare/Clinics/Hospitals/Wellness (4.1%)
  • Manufacturing (3.8%)
  • Insurance (3.6%)
  • Transportation/Logistics (3.5%)
  • Professional Services (3.3%)


The Connection to Orthopedic and GI Conditions

Moreover, our data demonstrates two major health conditions that show an outsized number of members with high risk for opioid abuse: orthopedic and gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. These include conditions like back and hip pain, bowel discomfort, heartburn, and gastritis — and frequently, and often unnecessarily, result in opioid prescriptions to manage the pain. In fact, members with these particular chronic conditions are 6x more likely to be at high risk of opioid abuse than people with other conditions.


This ongoing opioid epidemic represents one of the biggest threats in health today for all organizations — but especially those in government, construction, and nonprofits. To best serve employees, HR and benefits leaders should pay attention to these trends, monitor your population health data, and look for ways to mitigate risk and improve prevention. Accessing actionable insight into your own member data is critical to identifying high-risk groups, finding overlapping trends like the ones mentioned above, and creating targeted prevention and treatment programs.



*The report findings are the result of a quantitative analysis performed by the Springbuk Health Strategy team. The analysis was based on aggregate and anonymized data sets from over 2,500 employers of various industries, sizes, and geographies. The purpose of the analysis was to identify trends in employee health.

Learn more about the biggest trends in employee health and discover how to effectively examine data within your population to make more informed, forward-thinking decisions in 2020.