A lot of general thoughts and ideas have been bandied about that people who have jobs and who work are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than those who do not.  This is obviously a difficult thing to measure statistically speaking, as there are far more Americans who have jobs and who produce income than those who do not, so logically speaking there will be more working class Americans who use and abuse drugs than unemployed Americans those who do.

Studies show that of the entire addiction population, about seventy percent of those who abuse drugs and alcohol are somehow employed whether part time or full time.  But what about the proportions of the individual classes themselves?  Those same studies, (done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both), show clearly that no less than a full thirty percent of unemployed persons in this nation are substance abusers, while only about eight percent of employed persons abuse drugs and alcohol.

The counter argument is that employed persons are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, whether they actually do or not.  The proffered idea here is that employed persons are more stressed out, under more pressure, and tend to be more likely to be depressed or suffering with some other personal problem or crisis of some kind.  The supporters of this idea go on to say that because unemployed persons are: a). not as unhappy as those employed and b). do not have money to afford drugs that they will be c). less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.  This is a lot of semantics though, and it is highly flawed.

Some Statistical Food for Thought

Let’s look at some statistics on this.  What’s the ultimate level of unemployment?  What’s the absolute most unemployed and least contributing to society that one can be?  That would be incarcerated.  Interestingly enough, incarcerated persons, regardless of specific penitentiary, crimes committed, length of time in prison, associates in prison, or personality type, across the boards have skyrocketing higher chances of abusing drugs and alcohol than employed persons do.  For example:

• Drug use is a big problem for criminals, with the vast majority of them being criminals because of drugs or alcohol.  In the year of 2013 for example, an estimated 1.7 million adults of the age of 18 or older were on parole or other supervised release from prison at some time during the past year alone. About one quarter of them, (27.4 percent), were current illicit drug users, with 20.4 percent reporting current use of marijuana and about 12.1 percent reporting current non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs. These rates were higher than those reported by adults aged 18 or older who were not on parole or other supervised release during the past year, (9.3 percent for current illicit drug use, 7.5 percent for current marijuana use, and 2.4 percent for current non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs).  Sadly, it is apparent that even jail time does not seem to make a difference in whether or not one will seek out drugs and alcohol.

• In the year of 2013, an estimated 4.5 million adults aged 18 or older were on probation at some time during that past year. More than one quarter of them, (31.4 percent), were current illicit drug users, with 23.5 percent reporting current use of marijuana and 12.3 percent reporting current non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs. These rates were much, much higher than those reported by those adults who were not on probation during the past year, (9.0 percent for current illicit drug use, 7.3 percent for current marijuana use, and 2.3 percent for current non-medical use of psychotherapeutic drugs).  Obviously, probation does not really actually stop its participants from abusing drugs and alcohol.

Employment is Conducive to Everlasting Sobriety

On the other side of the coin we can look at just how much being employed is actually totally conducive to staying away from drugs and alcohol.  Sure enough, drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse in general is only a problem when one generally speaking suffers a lot in life or is trying to fill a void.  If one is employed, working hard, providing for a family, succeeding in life, having a steady income, being relatively happy with one’s job, etc. one will most likely find no need at all to use and abuse drugs and alcohol.

Having a job is a big responsibility.  When someone has the responsibility of a job of some kind or another, they’re expected to be at a specific location at a specific time five days a week, every week.  A lot is dependent upon them.  They need to really be on top of things, and in a lot of ways they simply do not have the freedom or leisure of being able to physically take the time to use and abuse drugs and alcohol like unemployed individuals can.  People with jobs set appointments, meetings, and deadlines and they follow through with them. Most importantly, there are consequences if these tasks are not completed and they could get in a lot of trouble or even lose their job, and this makes for a real difficult situation for them if they do start abusing drugs and alcohol.  There are people depending on them to get the job done.

All of this and more makes for sobriety to be a trend for those who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse in general.  When one has a job, one will be more stable in life in general, and one’s abilities and one’s strengths will tend to be more enhanced.  Employment is a key to sobriety and maintained abstinence.

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