Skip to main content

Wage Supplements Linked to Maintaining Sobriety, Employment

April 30, 2020

Does better income drive better outcomes? A Johns Hopkins study suggests that might be the case.

Poverty is an independent risk factor for substance abuse, and adding $8 per hour to paychecks of individuals in recovery may help them stay sober longer and encourage them to get and hold onto jobs, according to a study by researchers from Johns Hopkins.

The researchers recruited 91 participants, ages 21 to 74, for the study from the Center for Learning and Health at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center campus in Baltimore. The participants were paid $8 an hour with an optional $2 bonus as they completed three months of training and testing. After three months, 44 were randomly chosen to receive an $8 per hour wage supplement. The remaining 47 received no additional financial incentives.

During the yearlong study:

  • 65% of participants who received wage supplements provided urine samples free of opioids and cocaine vs. 45% of those who received no financial benefits
  • Participants with financial supplements were 2.9 times more likely to get a job and 2.7 times more likely rise out of poverty by the end of the year

“We were hoping to have a positive result from our study, but I don’t think we expected it to work quite so well,” August Holtyn, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a news release.

Back to Top