the chances of successfully completing treatment.” Doing so also improves the likelihood that an unemployed individual will seek employment after treatment.
Though the study states that the effects of alcoholism on employment are “not so clear,” there is a correlation between both alcoholism in those who have just lost a job as well as employees who are terminated because of their drinking. Illicit drug use is difficult to track, but the study states that “there is strong international evidence of adverse labor market effects of drug use.” More concrete research on drug use surrounding employment is needed, but there is adequate evidence for the argument that employment promotes recovery.
In fact, according to the employment study, getting a job is the second highest objective of people with addictions, ranking behind getting and staying sober. The document references another study in which 45 percent of the people who were unemployed relapsed six months after being treated for alcohol abuse, compared to 23 percent of the employed.
Employers are left wondering how to protect their businesses from people with drugs in their systems, but avoiding hiring people in recovery is a part of the sustained addiction stigma.
Evidence suggests that people getting treated for a substance use disorder have better chances of fully recovering if they are productive, specifically if they have a job.
Businesses’ concerns are valid, though.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, data from 2008 to 2012 indicates that “an average of 8.7 percent of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 used alcohol heavily in the past month,” and “8.6 percent used illicit drugs.” More than 9 percent were dependent on or abused a substance in the last year following up to the survey. These numbers are much higher in certain jobs that have larger problems with addiction, coal mining for example.
However, if employers don’t hire people in recovery, there are higher chances that the people who are struggling to get sober will relapse, and thus higher chances that they will end up with more punitive consequences.
“We’ve been sending them to prisons,” Noe said. “We can’t jail them out of addiction. I think it has to be person to person. I am hopeful that I can give these people something to look forward to.”