Disability payments may spur drug abuse

This is old news to our detox staff:

Paying out certain types of government aid in a monthly lump sum appears to fuel a spate of harmful and often fatal drug binges, according to a new study in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Public Economics that links the monthly arrival of disability checks with a sharp rise in drug related hospitalizations and deaths. The findings by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Texas A&M University suggests that spreading out aid payments over several weeks could be a way to relieve some of the stress on hospitals and health care workers who struggle to handle the monthly surge.

The analysis found that in California, the 23 percent increase in drug-related hospital admissions that occurs in the first five days of any given month is driven largely by the arrival of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (DI) payments. In particular, hospital deaths among SSI recipients increase 22 percent at the beginning of the month.