We’ve all heard the news: The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2000.
Given that statistic, it’d be logical to assume that almost anyone who can work is working, but that’s simply not true. In fact, our labor force participation rate among prime workers is only at about 81 percent.
Another way of looking at this is that nearly 20 percent of people who can work are not working by choice.
Why is that?
Opiates Abuse and the Economy
While there’s certainly multiple factors at play, economists have identified one very prominent cause of the lagging labor force participation rate: the opioid epidemic.
As more and more people are becoming addicted to opioids, they’re also opting out of the workforce.
Princeton University economist Alan Krueger examined the issue in a research paper titled “Where Have All the Workers Gone?”
His conclusion was, “Labor force participation has fallen more in areas where relatively more opioid pain medication is prescribed, causing the problem of depressed labor force participation and the opioid crisis to become intertwined.”
Breaking Free of Opioid Dependence
Opioid addiction may seem like a dead end, but it’s also true that there’s a way to turn things around and get back on the right path.
The thing is, breaking free from addiction isn’t as simple as some people may think. It’s not just a matter of getting the drugs out of your system and then choosing not to use again.
Addiction changes the brain and most people find that in order to leave opioids behind, they need to learn new coping skills. They also need to address any co-occurring conditions they may have, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
Opioid Addiction Help and The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the heroin or painkillers out of your system. The real work is helping you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially. We also evaluate and treat residents for any co-occurring conditions that may exist, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.