Man with alcohol and cigarette According to researchers, “increased anxiety, isolation, joblessness, and other factors caused by the pandemic could have led to an increased desire to abuse drugs and/or alcohol.”

A slower-than-expected rebound in the labor market might be due in part to higher rates of substance abuse, according to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The report noted that labor participation rates in the U.S. dropped sharply because of the COVID-19 pandemic and have still not fully recovered. There are many possible factors in a lower-than-expected labor participation rate, but the researchers point out that substance abuse has also increased during this time period and postulated that the labor numbers and increase in substance abuse might be linked.

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