What Fueled the Opioid Epidemic?

What Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

What fueled the opioid epidemic?

This is a heated question for some folks. Many get offended. Others get emotional. Either way, it’s good to ask research questions, conduct the research to answer the questions in a systematic, unbiased way and discuss what is found.

That said, in my latest episode of Causes or Cures, I chatted with Dr. Janet Currie about the factors that fueled the opioid epidemic. We discuss her recent research published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, “The Opioid Epidemic was Not Caused by Economic Distress but by Factors that Could be More Rapidly Addressed.” In this podcast, she will discuss the history of the opioid epidemic, how it started and explain why prescriptions for opioids and healthcare market policies are what fueled the epidemic, not economic factors. This includes a historic marketing campaign, the evolution of how healthcare providers address pain, and lots and lots of written prescriptions. Economic distress is often cited as a reason, but Dr. Currie does a good job explaining in the podcast why that is not an accurate depiction. It’s important to talk about these things so we can better target the solutions and ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. If you follow public health news, you know that there are tons of legal settlements currently happening, and states are getting lots of money from pharmaceutical companies et al. The hope is that the funds will be used to support programs and initiatives that help address the opioid epidemic.  One concern I have is that states won’t know the best ways to distribute the funds.

Who is Dr. Currie? 

Dr. Currie is an economist and Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University and the co-director of Princeton’s Center for Health and Wellbeing. She is also codirector of the Program on Families and Children at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She was named a Nomis Distinguished Scientist in 2019 and 1 of the top 10 women in economics by the World Economics Forum in 2015. She has served as the President of the American Society of Health Economics, The Society of Labour Economics and Vice President of the American Economics Association. She is considered a pioneer in the economic analysis of child development and her current research focuses on the socioeconomic differences in health, access to healthcare, and environmental threats to health.

You can listen to the episode on what fueled the opioid epidemic here. As always, feedback is welcomed! In addition, if you haven’t yet, check out some of the other recent Causes or Cures episodes below. Maybe something will interest you. Finally, thank you to everyone who subscribes and shares episodes. I really appreciate it! – Erin (Eeks)

From the Causes or Cures Podcast: 

Relationships between Doctors & Industry: Why Transparency is Not Enough:  Learn More Here.

Interview with an American Exorcist: What Actually Goes Down at an Exorcism?  Learn More Here.

Epistemic Corruption & The Body of Medical Science, Cause for Concern: Learn More Here.


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