Drugs vs. Jobs: The Relationship between Drug Abuse & Unemployment [Infographic]


As so many addicts and former addicts have discovered, there is a strong relationship between alcohol/drug abuse and unemployment. The fact is that unemployment heightens a person’s likelihood to binge drink, smoke, or have a drug addiction. This unfortunately creates a vicious cycle where the stress of unemployment makes it harder to stay clean, but the drugs make it hard to find and hold down full-time work.

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Jobs Go Down, Drugs Go Up

In the United States, 18.1% of unemployed adults use illicit drugs – that’s more than double the percentage of users who are employed full-time. If that doesn’t make the correlation clear enough, consider these facts:

  • States with higher unemployment rates tend to have higher rates of drug use.
  • Each 1% increase in the unemployment rate increases alcohol abuse by 17% and drunk driving by 35%.
  • After the economic downturn in 2008, marijuana and other drug use increased as unemployment increased. This pattern is reflected in every age group except for the elderly.

Substance abuse among the unemployed is too big an issue in the United States to ignore any longer.

Breaking the Cycle

We will never truly break the cycle of substance abuse and unemployment feeding into one another unless we attack it at both ends. In addition to providing education, resources, and treatment to those recovering from an addiction, we must create more opportunities for the unemployed to escape poverty and return to work.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, there is help available. Contact 12 Keys Rehab to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one.

Learn more about substance abuse and unemployment in the infographic below.


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The Addiction Blog