Opioids and Unemployability – An undeniable link?

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The Opioid Crisis Is Taking a Toll on the American Labor Force

By @EricLevitz

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Since the mid-1990s, the percentage of prime-age American men who don’t have a job – and aren’t looking for one – has risen dramatically. Over the same time period, per-capita sales of opioid painkillers in the United States has more than quadrupled. A new study suggests that there may be a relationship between these two facts.

In a paper published by the Brookings Institution on Thursday, Princeton economist Alan Krueger compares county-level data on opioid-prescription rates and labor-force participation, and finds that the more opioids were prescribed in a given region, the more likely that region was to have seen a significant decline in workforce participation.

The correlation was so dramatic, Krueger estimates that rising opioid prescriptions could plausibly account for one-fifth of the decline in the labor-force participation among American men between 1999 and 2015. For complete article  Daily Intelligencer


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