Low-income women who are not working, are TANF-sanctioned, or are experiencing housing instability are more likely than others to report substance use disorders.
Although substance use disorders are rare in the overall population of TANF recipients, they appear more common within key disadvantaged subgroups that come to the attention of policymakers, administrators, and clinicians.
Morgenstern and colleagues have extensively explored substance use disorders among sanctioned recipients, and found significantly elevated patterns of substance dependence (Morgenstern et al., 2006). In a specialized screening program of sanctioned recipients in one New Jersey County, 49% of those interviewed met criteria for abuse or dependence (Morgenstern et al., 2001). Phinney and colleagues reported that WES respondents who had used "hard" illicit drugs (defined as the use of any illicit substance other than marijuana) were significantly more likely to report that they had experienced homelessness or eviction (Phinney et al., forthcoming).