Substance Abuse and Welfare

A study that compares substance abuse to welfare recipients

John Hopkins conducted a study that pertained to substance abuse and welfare recipients that examined the prevalence of drug abuse in a nationally representative sample of 1989 recipients and 6840 nonrecipients of four welfare programs. Data from the 1995 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) were interviewed with matching of respondents on neighborhood of residence.

The results indicate that drug use is 50% more common in households with welfare recipients than in neighboring households in which no members received such assistance. Drug use was highest among recipients of multiple programs, particularly those who reported receiving food stamps. These findings provide new and up-to-date evidence of higher substance abuse among our society\s most economically disadvantaged families. They also suggest that legal policies enacted in some states to enforce drug testing and deny welfare benefits to persons testing positive for substance abuse might have important consequences in addressing drug use in this population, although constitutional issues must be considered.

Information released from the National Institute on Drug Abuse