Skip to main content
Back to Top

The opioid crisis and economic opportunity: Geographic and economic trends

Alternate Title: 
Economic Opportunity and the Opioid Crisis: Geographic and Economic Trends
Date Added to Library: 
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 14:57
Individual Author: 
Ghertner, Robin
Groves, Lincoln
Reference Type: 
Place Published: 
Washington, DC
Published Date: 
Published Date (Date): 
Friday, June 29, 2018

This study examines relationships between indicators of economic opportunity and the prevalence of prescription opioids and substance use in the United States. Overall, areas with lower economic opportunity are disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis. However, the extent of that relationship varies regionally.

(1) The prevalence of drug overdose deaths and opioid prescriptions has risen unevenly across the county, with rural areas more heavily affected. Specific geographic areas, such as Appalachia, parts of the West and the Midwest, and New England, have seen higher prevalence than other areas.

(2) Poverty, unemployment rates, and the employment-to-population ratio are highly correlated with the prevalence of prescription opioids and with substance use measures. On average, counties with worse economic prospects are more likely to have higher rates of opioid prescriptions, opioid-related hospitalizations, and drug overdose deaths.

(3) Some high-poverty regions of the country were relatively isolated from the opioid epidemic, as shown by our substance use measures, as of 2016. (Author abstract)

Geographic Focus: 
Page Count: 
Topical Area: 

The SSRC is here to help you! Do you need more information on this record?

If you are unable to access the full-text of the article from the Public URL provided, please email our Librarians for assistance at

In addition to the information on this record provided by the SSRC, you may be able to use the following options to find an electronic copy from an online subscription service or your local library:

  • Worldcat to find an electronic copy from an online subscription service
  • Google Scholar to discover other full text options