Career Failure Increases Risk of Fatal Overdose

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

A new study out of the University of Luxembourg found that those who fail to flourish in either their educations or careers are more prone to dying of a drug overdose than those who achieve success.

Setting Up Dangerous Conditions

The study, led by Luxembourg National Drug Coordinator Alain Origer, analyzed data from 1,300 problem drug users in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg between 1994 and 2011, a period during which there were 272 fatal overdoses.

Working with Professor Michèle Baumann, a health sociologist form the University of Luxembourg, the pair found that overdose victims were “twice as likely to have failed to finish secondary school successfully and one-and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed than problem drug users who are still alive.”

To reduce drug addiction, Origer recommends occupational reintegration, educational programs and professional training throughout the country.However, this didn’t reflect back on their parents or family upbringing. Origer said there was no difference in the parenting of problem drug users compared to overdose victims that would lead him to believe that socio-economic disadvantages played a larger role in their addictions.

To reduce drug abuse, Origer recommends occupational reintegration, educational programs and professional training throughout the country.

Unemployed vs. Employed

A 2011 study previously found that 18 percent of the country’s unemployed used illegal drugs, compared to 10 percent for part-time workers and eight percent for full-time workers.

Marijuana was the most popular substance by far among this population, followed by pain relievers and tranquilizers. But while unemployment jumped significantly during the great recession between January 2008 and January 2010, it didn’t present an increase in drug abuse during that time.

Similar findings were reported in the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, with one out of six unemployed reportedly abusing substances, compared to nine percent of full-time workers. However, these numbers were self-reported and could have been even higher in reality.

Pinpointing a Link

According to Miami sociologist Michael French and Nova Southeastern University economist Ioana Popovici, it’s the increase in down time among the unemployed that ultimately contributes to greater drug use. Although they have less money with which to buy drugs, they have more idle time to fill.

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