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Mortality and Socioeconomic Consequences of Prescription Opioids: Evidence from State Policies

Robert Kaestner, Engy Ziedan

NBER Working Paper No. 26135
Issued in August 2019
NBER Program(s):Health Care Program, Health Economics Program, Labor Studies Program, Public Economics Program

This article presents estimates of the effects of state prescription opioid policies on prescription opioid sales, mortality and socioeconomic outcomes of adults. Our analysis highlights that most prescription opioid use is medically prescribed and that curtailing such use may have adverse effects on wellbeing. We also emphasize that there are significant differences in prescription opioid use and mis-use across demographic groups that may cause state policies to have heterogeneous effects. Results indicate that state policies reduced prescription opioid sales by between 5% and 20% depending on the policy and type of prescription opioid. State “pill mill” laws have been particularly effective at reducing prescription opioid sales. The reductions in prescription opioid sales associated with state policies, however, were not associated with significant changes in mortality or socioeconomic outcomes.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26135

 
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