Effect of Prescription Opioids and Prescription Opioid Control Policies on Infant Health
Prescription opioid use among women of reproductive age and pregnant women is relatively common and growing prescription opioid use is associated with a commensurate increase in opioid use disorder (OUD) among pregnant women and neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) among infants. In this article, we examine whether state opioid control policies affected prescription opioid use and, in turn, infant health and maternal behaviors. We conduct several types of analyses including reduced form analyses of the effect of policies on infant health and maternal behaviors, and instrumental variables analyses of the effects of prescription opioid use on infant health and maternal behaviors. Results from our analysis suggest that reductions in prescription opioid use because of state prescription opioid control policies have improved infant health modestly at the population level with larger implied effects at the individual level.
We thank Dhaval Dave and Abraham Asfaw for their help obtaining data used in the article. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Robert Kaestner has received money from Morgan, Lewis and Bokius for research related to prescription opioid use.