Empirical Economic Bulletin, An Undergraduate Journal


This paper investigates the determining factors influencing the opioid epidemic in each of the 50 states of the United States of America. The opioid epidemic is a rising concern throughout the nation and has been associated with economic conditions. The health crisis poses additional threats to the labor market and the overall economy. This study looks at the age adjusted opioid death rate per 100,000 people as the dependent variable and how unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, ESOOS funding, the number of hospitals, Median household income, the GINI index, adults reporting poor mental health status, individuals reporting past year opioid use disorder and individuals reporting needing but not receiving treatment for illicit drug use in the past year as independent variables. Previous studies imply macroeconomic shocks also increase the overall drug death rate, but this increase is driven by rising opioid deaths. This paper uses a logistic model to appropriately identify which factors have a heighten relationship to the opioid epidemic and vice versa for each of the 50 states. Frequency of overdose by state was estimated by kernel density estimation in order to find a candidate breakpoint for forming the dichotomy. Using 12 as the breakpoint, supported sufficient results; using these determinants the study indicate that ESOOS funding, opioid prescribing rate, the number of hospitals, GINI index, and individuals reporting past year opioid use disorder as statistically significant in predicting opioid mortality.