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Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation

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Abstract

The labor-force participation rates of prime-age U.S. workers dropped in March 2020, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have still not fully recovered. Could increased substance abuse during the pandemic be an important contributing factor? Substance-abuse deaths were elevated during the pandemic relative to trend indicating an increase in the number of substance abusers, and abusers of opioids and crystal methamphetamine have lower labor-force participation rates than non-abusers. A range of estimates of the number of additional substance abusers during the pandemic indicate that increased substance abuse can account for 9 to 26 percent of the decline in prime-age labor force participation between February 2020 and June 2021. In HSOA Journal of Addiction and Addictive Disorders (2022), v. 9, n. 2: 100087

Suggested Citation

  • Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Karen A. Kopecky, 2022. "Substance Abuse during the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 35, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  • Handle: RePEc:eag:rereps:35
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    Keywords

    COVID-19 Pandemic; Substance Abuse; Labor-Force Participation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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