We’re aware that drug use can lead to a lack of willingness to remain employed and productive. In fact, there’s a concrete correlation between drug abuse and a person’s job status. But a set of studies have found that the opposite is possible, too. Drug addiction can be triggered by unemployment and economic recession. The frustration of not having the usual source of income can make people turn to illegal drug use, so they can cope with their personal crisis.

In 2008, nearly 60% of people admitted to having experienced an increase in substance use during the economic crisis – particularly those belonging to lower socioeconomic groups.

Why reports of drug use rise during recessions

It’s difficult to understand the pitfalls of addiction that accompany economic recessions without understanding the ‘why’ behind them. Since many pieces of literature usually revolve around what happens when there’s a global financial crisis, here are a few reasons why there’s a rise in the reports of drug use.

  • Stress 

During the Great Recession of 2008, which spread throughout the world, there was a serious loss of jobs. This not only affected the workforce around the globe but also affected the well-being of the employees. Although it affected the entire world, people below the age of 25 were greatly affected by the downturn, which contributed to the number of unemployed youth in the country.

As companies cut down on people, the staff that remained employed experienced extreme stress at the workplace. For them, the workload had doubled, the pay was cut down, and job hours had increased.

This resulted in 58.3% of people getting involved in substance abuse, including alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, cigarettes, and amphetamine among many more.

While most of the stress was financial, restructuring of the organization in terms of employee hierarchy induced significant amounts of environmental stress among the employed individuals, which further contributed to the addiction stats.

  • Loss of jobs

As companies resorted to laying off employees to cut down on expenses, people were left with very few employment opportunities in the market. They were also left with an unfair playing field as people from all walks of life ended up competing with each other.

One of the major challenges that emerged from this was the abnormal educational disparity among the population. Those with higher levels of educational qualifications were competing with those with high school diplomas for the same level of employment status.

Because people were left playing catchup throughout the day, using substances allowed them to feel free – even it was just for a little while.

  • Lack of accommodation

Since roughly 2.6 million jobs were lost to the economic recession in 2008, it wasn’t possible for several people to pay rent on time. Naturally, they were left without any living arrangement by the end of the recession.

People were forced to take to the streets, which made it easier for them to be introduced to the world of drugs. Regular drug users reported doubling and tripling their usage to deal with the stress of having undesirable living conditions.

  • Increased opportunity for recreational use

People who had been laid off from work realized that they had a lot of time on their hands. Because there was a lack of activities, unemployed individuals used their leisure time to use more substance.

The scarcity of employment opportunities in the market fueled their addiction even more as most people spent their time self-medicating.

  • Need for salesforce

Since people were already out on the streets, the only place they could find work immediately was right where they were living. The recession had stirred up a higher demand for substances. So, the drug industry was in sudden need of salesforce.

Young people who had little to no work experience found it easier to get a job selling drugs. Since the job paid well, people remained loyal to their work and realized that it allowed them to use substances while working, which prevented them from losing their addictive behavior.

Do better employment opportunities assist drug addiction treatment?

Upon review, it’s safe to say that an individual’s employment status dictates their quality of life and overall health. A study published in the Munich Personal RePEc Archive confirms that increasing the prospect of finding a job can improve an addict’s willingness to enter a program.

People who are unemployed are more hesitant and aren’t as willing to enter a treatment program as their employed counterparts. They are also immune to the market economy because they are already working, so they have a higher chance of completing the program.

Better employment prospects can also help with addiction treatment when it comes to therapy – the psychological aspect of a healthy recovery. Knowing that they are going to get a job that they are eligible for can inculcate a sense of pride and achievement within the participants, allowing them to react more positively to the addiction treatment.

At SRC, we prioritize your mental health along with your drug addiction recovery. With the help of industry experts, we help you lead a happier, cleaner, and healthier life.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.