The Impact of Opioids on Manufacturing: Groundbreaking Research from the MAPI Foundation

The intersection of the opioid crisis and manufacturing is poised to be a drag on U.S. competitiveness. Each addict and overdose death is one less non-disabled adult in the labor market, but the undermining power of the drug crisis also hits manufacturing’s existing workforce too. Nearly one in 20 employees will misuse opioid prescriptions in some way this year, and this makes them susceptible to addiction.

The Impact of Opioids on Manufacturing: Groundbreaking Research from the MAPI Foundation
Arlington, VA, February 23, 2018 --( The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) Foundation released groundbreaking research on the intersection of the opioid crisis and manufacturing, “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss. The Impact of Opioids on Manufacturing.” While many are forecasting U.S. manufacturing to return to its global dominance, the drug crisis is poised to be a drag on U.S. competitiveness.

“The opioid crisis has been a major public discourse for the past few years,” noted Jenn Callaway, VP of Research at MAPI and co-author of the report. “However, much of the coverage has been focused on family and community impact. While undeniably important, this research branches out and examines the effect and potential disruption to U.S. manufacturers – and the results demand action.”

Contributing factors:
· In 2015, the U.S. spent 2.8% of its GDP on the opioid crisis.
· The U.S. drug crisis is reducing the labor force and its productivity.
- Areas with higher opioid pain medication prescription rates have lower labor force participation rates.
- Drug addiction leads to productivity loss for employers.
· The U.S. drug epidemic is accelerating in communities with large manufacturing workforces.
- By the end of 2016, 70 counties were employing the largest amount of manufacturing workers and grappling with deadly addiction. Another 201 manufacturing-intensive counties were also seeing more than the national median of overdose deaths. Together 40% of the counties employing the most manufacturing workers were experiencing the worst of the drug crisis that year.
- In 2016, 11 of the states the 70 hardest hit manufacturing counties call home saw statistically significant increases in drug overdose deaths. They also generated 41% of manufacturing GDP.
· The drug problem is more acute within the U.S. labor force than other top manufacturing countries.
- In 2014, the U.S. drug overdose death rate per 100,000 was 6.96. That’s five times higher than Germany, sixteen times higher than Japan, nineteen times higher than China, and twenty-nine times higher than South Korea.

Manufacturing executives can no longer turn a blind eye to the problem. It’s time to take action, raise awareness of the drug crisis with employees, and learn the signs of opioid abuse in their workforce.

To assess the risk of drug overdose deaths across your U.S. manufacturing footprint, access the U.S. Drug Overdose Death Rate map tool on the MAPI Foundation website.

Manufacturing leaders who are interested in learning more about this research and discussing it with manufacturers facing these challenges can join MAPI at the ManufacturED Summit in Chicago, IL on May 22-24.

About the MAPI Foundation
The MAPI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit subsidiary research organization of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation. The Foundation researches the economic impact of manufacturing, including the implications of government policies and the success drivers that keep the industry competitive. Its mission is to showcase manufacturing’s impact on the global economy to help business leaders, policymakers, and the general public understand manufacturing’s impact on everyday life. For more information, visit

About MAPI
Founded in 1933, the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation is a nonprofit organization that connects manufacturing leaders with the ideas they need to make smarter decisions. As the Manufacturing Leadership Network, its mission is to build strong leadership within manufacturing to drive the growth, profitability, and stature of global manufacturers. For more information, visit
Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI)
Kristin Graybill