Unemployed Americans Battles Substance Abuse

15 Dec 2016

Unemployed Americans Battles Substance Abuse

A new study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals a link between unemployment and the abuse of alcohol and drugs. 17% of unemployed American adults had a substance abuse problem, compared to 9% of employed adults. This makes sober living harder, considering the rate of unemployment that we have today.

It’s unclear how this causal relationship works exactly. Researchers have yet to determine if alcoholism or substance abuse is the reason for the unemployment or if the abuse is the result of coping from the loss of a job, which gives sober living a slimmer chance. It’s like the old adage: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Researchers have a theory…

Due to the recession, unemployment has dropped from 5% to 10%, but drug use rates have remained constant among the unemployed. If drug and alcohol abuse is the reason for unemployment, it is suggested there would be a spike in addiction rates, but that’s not the case.

Rates of substance abuse have remained steady, so certain researchers are leaning toward the latter as possible reasoning. Unemployment creates increased stress and leisure time, as well as a loss of income, creating an imbalance between sober living and substance addiction. However, the increased free time appears to trump the lack of funding.

On the other side of the coin, many employed individuals—9% or 1 in 11—struggle with addiction to illicit drugs or alcohol. This study reveals some interesting data, but there’s one thing we’ve always known: Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of employment status, age, education, race, etc., etc. Thus, it is very important for people to know these facts, just so we know that addiction can affect anyone, and these facts will help us towards the fact of sober living.

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