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The Effects of Mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs on Foster Care Admissions


  • Gihleb, Rania

    () (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Giuntella, Osea

    () (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Zhang, Ning

    () (University of Pittsburgh)


The opioid epidemic is a national public health emergency. As the number of fa- tal overdoses and drug abuse skyrockets, children of opioid-dependent parents are at increased risk of being neglected, abused or orphaned. While some studies have examined the effects of policies introduced by states to restrict prescription drug supply on drug abuse, there is no study analyzing their effects on children. This paper estimates the effect of must-access prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) on child removals. To identify the effects of the programs on foster care caseloads, we exploit the variation across states in the timing of adoption of must-access PDMPs using an event-study approach as well as standard difference-in-difference models. Consistent with previous evidence examining the effects of PDMPs on drug abuse, we find that operational PDMP did not have any significant effects on foster care caseloads. However, the introduction of mandatory provisions reduced child removals by 10%. Exploring the reasons of removals, we show that these effects are driven by the reductions in cases of child neglect. There is also evidence of significant reductions in removal cases associated with child physical abuse.

Suggested Citation

  • Gihleb, Rania & Giuntella, Osea & Zhang, Ning, 2018. "The Effects of Mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs on Foster Care Admissions," IZA Discussion Papers 11470, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11470

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joseph J. Doyle Jr., 2007. "Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1583-1610, December.
    2. Abby Alpert & David Powell & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, 2017. "Supply-Side Drug Policy in the Presence of Substitutes: Evidence from the Introduction of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids," NBER Working Papers 23031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Justine Mallatt, 2017. "Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs on Oxycodone Prescriptions, Heroin Substitution, and Crime Rates," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1292, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
    4. Abby Alpert & David Powell & Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, 2017. "Supply-Side Drug Policy in the Presence of Substitutes Evidence from the Introduction of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids," Working Papers WR-1181, RAND Corporation.
    5. Joseph J. Doyle Jr., 2008. "Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 746-770, August.
    6. Dhaval M. Dave & Anca M. Grecu & Henry Saffer, 2017. "Mandatory Access Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and Prescription Drug Abuse," NBER Working Papers 23537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2018. "Deaths of Despair or Drug Problems?," NBER Working Papers 24188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Scott Cunningham & Keith Finlay, 2013. "Parental Substance Use And Foster Care: Evidence From Two Methamphetamine Supply Shocks," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 764-782, January.
    9. Thomas C. Buchmueller & Colleen Carey, 2018. "The Effect of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs on Opioid Utilization in Medicare," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 77-112, February.
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    More about this item


    opioid epidemic;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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