Behavioral economics of substance use: Understanding and reducing harmful use during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Public Health Significance: Physical distancing practices necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in economic recession and unprecedented reductions in rewarding activities that compete with substance use. Behavioral economics predicts that the heightened constraints on rewarding substance-free activities, coupled with increases in uncertainty and stress, will increase harmful substance use, disproportionately affecting individuals already struggling with addiction and those from disadvantaged populations. By increasing the perceived cost of substance use and increasing the availability of substance-free activities, including treatment, anticipated increases in harmful substance use during the pandemic can be reduced. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Title

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology