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

16 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2022

See all articles by Jeremy Greenwood

Jeremy Greenwood

University of Pennsylvania

Nezih Guner

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI)

Karen A. Kopecky

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Date Written: March 2022

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. At the same time, 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. Could increased substance abuse during the pandemic be a factor contributing to the fall in labor-force participation? Estimates of the number of additional substance abusers during the pandemic presented here suggest that increased substance abuse accounts for between 9 and 26 percent of the decline in prime-age labor-force participation between February 2020 and June 2021.

Note:
Funding Information: None to declare.

Conflict of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: Covid-19 pandemic, Labor-Force Participation, Substance Abuse

JEL Classification: I12, J11, J21

Suggested Citation

Greenwood, Jeremy and Guner, Nezih and Kopecky, Karen A., Substance Abuse During the Pandemic: Implications for Labor-Force Participation (March 2022). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP17137, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4121254

Jeremy Greenwood (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Nezih Guner

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI) ( email )

Casado del Alisal 5
28014 Madrid
Spain

Karen A. Kopecky

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta ( email )

1000 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309-4470
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
38
PlumX Metrics