NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Recessions and Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment

Jonathan H. Cantor, Brady P. Horn, Johanna Catherine Maclean

NBER Working Paper No. 19115
Issued in June 2013, Revised in October 2017
NBER Program(s):   HE

Previous economic research shows that recessions lead to worsening substance abuse. In this paper we study the effect of recessions on admissions to specialty substance abuse treatment using administrative data between 1992 and 2015. Using data from Treatment Episode Data Set and a differences-in-differences empirical strategy, we find no evidence that recessions influence the overall number of admissions. However, we document substantial heterogeneity across drugs of abuse. Combining our findings with previous economic studies suggests that unmet need for substance abuse treatment increases during recessions.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19115

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