Substance abuse rose in the pandemic. That may explain our slow to return to work, study shows

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The U.S. workforce has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, and researchers are shedding light on one factor that may be contributing to the labor shortage in the U.S.: substance abuse. 

A rise in drug abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic could account for between 9% to 26% of the decline in labor force participation among people aged 25 to 54 between February 2020 and June 2021, according to a new working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.