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Economic Downturns and Substance Abuse Treatment: Evidence from Admissions Data

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  • Johanna Catherine Maclean
  • Jonathan H. Cantor
  • Rosalie Liccardo Pacula
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    Abstract

    This study investigates the effect of economic downturns on substance abuse treatment admissions using data from the Treatment Episodes Data Set between 1992 and 2010. Given the differences between alcohol and illicit drugs, we separately examine these two classes of substances. Changes in admissions may be driven by both demand and supply side determinants of substance abuse treatment, and we include supply side proxies in our regressions to isolate the role of demand. We find that admissions for both alcohol and illicit drugs decrease in downturns. Unconditional quantile regressions reveal that the relationship varies across the admissions distribution: results are driven by states with low admissions. Our findings shed new light on the relationship between economic downturns and substance abuse, and have implications for public health policy and prioritization of government spending.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19115.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19115

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    1. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C & Wuellrich, Jean-Philippe & Zweimüller, Josef, 2011. "Recessions are bad for workplace safety," CEPR Discussion Papers 8373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Cawley, John & Moriya, Asako S. & Simon, Kosali, 2011. "The Impact of the Macroeconomy on Health Insurance Coverage: Evidence from the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 6124, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Tara Watson & Angela Fertig, 2008. "Minimum Drinking Age Laws and Infant Health Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 14118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Colman, Gregory & Dave, Dhaval, 2013. "Exercise, physical activity, and exertion over the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 11-20.
    5. Chatterji, Pinka & Dave, Daval & Kaestner, Robert & Markowitz, Sara, 2004. "Alcohol abuse and suicide attempts among youth," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 159-180, June.
    6. John Cawley & Christopher Ruhm, 2011. "The Economics of Risky Health Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 17081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Cawley, John & Simon, Kosali I., 2005. "Health insurance coverage and the macroeconomy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 299-315, March.
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