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Unemployment and Addiction

  • 1.  Unemployment and Addiction

    National Council Staff
    Posted 04-22-2020 10:05

    Dear Association Executives – Following up on part of the discussion from yesterday's weekly Association Executives meeting, one potential argument discussed that could be used with state governments to advocate for more funding for substance use treatment providers was to cite the relationship between unemployment and addiction. Two sources were provided for this information. See below. 

    • Mental Health in the Age of the Coronavirus by David Brooks, The New York Times, April 2, 2020. "Every one-percentage-point increase in unemployment leads eventually to a 3.5 percent increase in opioid addiction, so the pandemic's economic effects alone will exacerbate our drug and mental health problems down the road."  [Thanks to John Coppola (New York)]
    Abstract - We examine how deaths and emergency department (ED) visits related to use of opioid analgesics (opioids) and other drugs vary with macroeconomic conditions. As the county unemployment rate increases by one percentage point, the opioid death rate per 100,000 rises by 0.19 (3.6%) and the opioid overdose ED visit rate per 100,000 increases by 0.95 (7.0%). Macroeconomic shocks also increase the overall drug death rate, but this increase is driven by rising opioid deaths. Our findings hold when performing a state-level analysis, rather than county-level; are primarily driven by adverse events among whites; and are stable across time periods Copyright © 2017 Elsevier
    [Thanks to Steve Shannon (Kentucky)]

    In addition, there have been a large number of media and academic articles about the increase in alcohol sales since the start of the pandemic, such as


    Neal Comstock
    Director, Membership
    National Council for Behavioral Health
    Direct: (202) 748-8793
    Email: NealC@TheNationalCouncil.Org

    Tom Hill
    Senior Advisor, Practice Improvement
    National Council for Behavioral Health
    Direct: (202) 629-5796

    Neal Comstock
    Director of Membership
    National Council
    202 748-8793