UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Addiction, Employment & The Return to Work Richardson, Lindsey; Epp, Stephen


The relationship between problematic psychoactive substance use and the employment is complex; while substance use may negatively impact labor market outcomes, including the return to work or maintaining a job, employment may also impact substance use behavior, either positively or negatively. Factors that influence the return to work of people who use psychoactive substances problematically occur at the micro, meso and macro levels. Because of this complexity, and because the return to work and professional support for individual vocational goals occurs at the individual level, interventions to promote the return to work or staying at work are best positioned within a broader framework of treatment for substance use disorders. Such a framework may be either abstinence or non-abstinence focused, but will ideally include consideration across the biological, psychological, social, environmental and spiritual domains, and will be structured within a larger rehabilitative process. The overarching goal of any occupational or vocational rehabilitative process should be improved functionality, based on individual capacity, motivation and opportunity.

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