DC Accepted Papers Paper:
The Relationship between Unemployment Rates and Consumption Rates of Hydrocodone and Oxycodone at the County Level
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Since the commercial production of oxycodone and hydrocodone began in the 1990s, consumption of prescription painkillers has consistently increased, leading to increases in the number of deaths attributable to the use of prescription opioids and related substances, such as heroin and synthetic opioids. Previous studies have found that poor economic conditions are linked to worsening health outcomes and increases in risky behaviors such as substance abuse. A burgeoning literature examines the nature of this connection closely, focusing on the interrelationships between economic conditions, health outcomes, and overdose rates. Using Drug Enforcement Agency data on opioid production and Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment data, I attempt to identify the effect of employment rates on opioid consumption at the county level.