The economy and substance abuse rates have a lot to do with each other; when times are bad people tend to excessively use alcohol and drugs, when times are good people do this less. As we plunge deeper into recession and more people are finding themselves homeless due to foreclosures, people are turning to drugs and alcohol in order to cope with the depression associated with what is happening in one’s life. Increased incident rates related to binge drinking, problem drinking, and driving under the influence are being seen according to a new study published in Health Economics.

It was previously thought that the economy didn’t affect drinking and drugging habits, unfortunately that just isn’t the case

“It was thought that when unemployment goes up, income goes down and people will consume less because they don’t have the resources,” says study researcher Michael T. French, PhD, a professor of health economics at the University of Miami.

“People are self-medicating with alcohol,” French says. “If you have more free time, you can engage in activities like drinking more frequently than if you were employed. The self-medication and leisure time effect are dominating the income effect.”

The study followed alcohol drinking patterns from 2001 to 2005, which predates the current recession, meaning that things may be a whole lot worse now, French says. “There will also likely be an uptick in addiction and treatment admissions due to alcohol abuse.”

Family members and loved ones who have someone in their life who has suffered a loss due to the economy should keep an eye on them, especially if they have a history of substance abuse. They may need your support getting them the help they require.


drugs, alcohol, addiction, economy, substance-abuse, drinking, study

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