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Economic conditions, illicit drug use, and substance use disorders in the United States

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  • Carpenter, Christopher S.
  • McClellan, Chandler B.
  • Rees, Daniel I.

Abstract

We provide the first analysis of the relationship between economic conditions and the use of illicit drugs other than marijuana. Drawing on US data from 2002 to 2015, we find mixed evidence on the cyclicality of illicit drug use. However, we find robust evidence that economic downturns lead to increases in the intensity of prescription pain reliever use as well as increases in clinically relevant substance use disorders involving opioids. These effects are concentrated among working-age white males with low educational attainment. We conclude that policymakers should consider devoting more, not fewer, resources to treating substance use disorders during economic downturns.

Suggested Citation

  • Carpenter, Christopher S. & McClellan, Chandler B. & Rees, Daniel I., 2017. "Economic conditions, illicit drug use, and substance use disorders in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 63-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:63-73
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2016.12.009
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    Cited by:

    1. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2017. "Unhappiness and Pain in Modern America: A Review Essay, and Further Evidence, on Carol Graham's Happiness for All?," IZA Discussion Papers 11184, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Wang, Huixia & Wang, Chenggang & Halliday, Timothy J., 2018. "Health and health inequality during the great recession: Evidence from the PSID," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 17-30.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2018. "Deaths of Despair or Drug Problems?," NBER Working Papers 24188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dow, Wiiliam H & Godoey, Anna & Lowenstein, Christopher A & Reich, Michael, 2019. "Can Economic Policies Reduce Deaths of Despair? Working Paper #104-19," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt14f015df, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    5. Colin Green & John Heywood & Ben Artz, 2018. "Does Performance Pay Increase Alcohol and Drug Use?," Working Paper Series 17618, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    6. Maclean, J. Catherine & Tello-Trillo, Sebastian & Webber, Douglas A., 2019. "Losing Insurance and Behavioral Health Hospitalizations: Evidence from a Large-Scale Medicaid Disenrollment," IZA Discussion Papers 12463, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Aliprantis, Dionissi & Schweitzer, Mark E., 2018. "Opioids and the Labor Market," Working Papers (Old Series) 1807, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    8. repec:eee:jhecon:v:63:y:2019:i:c:p:34-51 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:rre:publsh:v47:y:2017:i:3:p:231-242 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chenggang Wang & Huixia Wang & Timothy J. Halliday, 2017. "Health and Health Inequality during the Great Recession: Evidence from the PSID," Working Papers 201703, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    11. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:236-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Deiana, Claudio & Giua, Ludovica, 2018. "The US Opidemic: Prescription Opioids, Labour Market Conditions and Crime," MPRA Paper 85712, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Strulik, Holger, 2019. "Opioid epidemics," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 371, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    14. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2016. "Taking the Measure of a Fatal Drug Epidemic," NBER Working Papers 22504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. repec:eee:jhecon:v:64:y:2019:i:c:p:25-42 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic conditions; Drug use; Substance use disorders;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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