Macroeconomic Conditions and Opioid Abuse

70 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2017 Last revised: 16 May 2021

See all articles by Alex Hollingsworth

Alex Hollingsworth

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

Christopher J. Ruhm

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Kosali Ilayperuma Simon

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2017

Abstract

We examine how deaths and emergency department (ED) visits related to use of opioid analgesics (opioids) and other drugs vary with macroeconomic conditions. As the county unemployment rate increases by one percentage point, the opioid death rate per 100,000 rises by 0.19 (3.6%) and the opioid overdose ED visit rate per 100,000 increases by 0.95 (7.0%). Macroeconomic shocks also increase the overall drug death rate, but this increase is driven by rising opioid deaths. Our findings hold when performing a state-level analysis, rather than county-level; are primarily driven by adverse events among whites; and are stable across time periods.

Suggested Citation

Hollingsworth, Alex and Ruhm, Christopher J. and Simon, Kosali Ilayperuma, Macroeconomic Conditions and Opioid Abuse (February 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23192, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2924282

Alex Hollingsworth (Contact Author)

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

HOME PAGE: http://alexjhollingsworth.com

Christopher J. Ruhm

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

235 McCormick Rd.
P.O. Box 400893
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
United States
434-924-7581 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://batten.virginia.edu/cruhm.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Kosali Ilayperuma Simon

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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