Online Program

Effect of substance abuse treatment on employment and crime outcomes

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Thomas Wickizer, PhD, Division of Health Services Management and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Crime and employment are important, but understudied, outcomes of substance abuse (SA) treatment. In 2005, Washington State expanded access to SA treatment for Medicaid patients and other welfare patients on the assumption that treatment would be associated with improved outcomes in the form of reduced crime, increased employment and reduced medical care utilization. The effect of SA treatment on medical utilization has been previously reported (Wickizer et al., 2012). Here I report the effects of SA treatment on crime and employment outcomes. The study population included working age disabled clients on Medicaid and clients on general assistance (n > 23,000). Multivariable regression analyses were conducted to examine crime and employment outcomes. SA treatment was associated with reductions in arrests from 18% to 33$ (p < .01); arrests avoided per 100 persons ranged from 13.8 to 46.2. SA treatment was also associated with positive employment outcomes. The adjusted odds ratios for any employment during the two-year follow-up period ranged from 1.5 to 1.6 depending on the welfare cohort. The incidence rate ratios generated by the analysis were approximately 1.35, implying that welfare clients having SA treatment would, on average, have been employed for 1.35 more quarters during the 2-year follow-up period compared to clients not having SA treatment. These analyses suggest that SA treatment is associated with positive outcomes in the form of enhanced employment and reduced crime. In making resource allocation decisions, policy makers should consider the effects of SA treatment on crime and employment outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Explain how substance abuse can affect crime outcomes. Explain how substance abuse can affect employment outcomes.

Keyword(s): Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 20 years experience in conducting health services research on substance abuse issues. I have given over 10 oral presentations at past APHA conferences and have been given awards at international meetings for abstracts on my substance abuse research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.