For most of us, “unemployment” conjures up images of worry, stress and lack of clarity. A new study conducted by epidemiologist and Associate Professor Silvia Martins, M.D., Ph.D., of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health connects the dots between employment status and nonmedical use of prescription opioids and stimulants. This research shows how social characteristics such as employment status influence substance misuse. The study, which is among the first to look at this relationship, sampled 58,486 adults, aged 25 years and older. Data originated from the 2011 to 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The study indicates that, “People who were unemployed reported the highest odds of misusing prescription opioids at 7 percent. Those out of the workforce reported the highest odds of misusing prescription stimulants at 2 percent. Overall, there were more users of nonmedical prescription opioids (3.5 percent) compared with nonmedical users of prescription stimulants (0.72 percent),” affirms Martin.
“Our results confirm the need for adult prevention and deterrence programs that target nonmedical prescription drug use, especially among those unemployed or not in the workforce,” says Martins. “Of particular concern are adults ages 26-34 who are unemployed, since the odds of nonmedical prescription opioid use are higher in this age group as compared to older adults.”