Opioid Epidemic Affecting The Economy

Sep 11, 2017

In a new study by the Brookings Institute, Economist Alan Krueger writes that nearly half of the men surveyed “take pain medication on a daily basis, and in nearly two-thirds of these cases they take prescription pain medication.” According to Krueger, “These figures likely understate the actual proportion of men taking prescription pain medication give the stigma and legal risk associated with reporting taking narcotics.” There are substantial economic consequences for this drug use. Krueger writes, “The opioid crisis and depressed labor-force participation are now intertwined in many parts of the U.S. Labor force participation has fallen more in areas where relatively more opioid pain medication is prescribed.” The labor force participation rate reached a 40-year low in 2015. Men who participated in the survey took painkillers “either as a result of being out of the workforce for a prolonged period or because they had a condition that required the use of painkillers and could not work because of the condition.” President Trump considers the opioid crisis a “deadly epidemic” and declared a “state of emergency” on August 10.