Date of Conferral
Research suggests evidence of an association between sociodemographic determinants and illicit drug use. However, these data do not take into consideration the effect an economic obstacle, such as a recession, could have on an individual's urge to cope with this stressful period with illicit drugs. Furthermore, there is no research to suggest how clinicians and/or treatment institutions can forecast whether the use of monetary resources will be sustainable due to private and/or governmental fund reductions during an economic recession. Based on theories of social learning and social disorganization within an ecological framework, this study employed a quantitative trend analysis to explore the impact the 2007-2009 economic recession had on illicit drug use throughout the United States. A sample of respondents from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive from 2006 to 2010 surveys was used to run the statistical analysis. Based on the analyses, age and gender (covariates) and all variables (social disorganization and Gross Domestic Product) were found to be significant predictors of illicit drug use. Although methamphetamine was not significant for prevalence over time, total drug use, cocaine, and heroin were prevalent over time based on predictors. These findings suggest local, state, and federal policies regarding the prosecution and imprisonment of nonviolent and minor drug offenders should be reprioritized towards the rehabilitation of addicts while enforcing firmer laws upon the most disruptive and severe aspects of the drug trade in order to promote a genuine positive change towards social organization.