Pleasure and Pain: The Connection Between Opioid Prescriptions and Social Security Disability Insurance in the U.S.
Essak, Balen Victor
Washington and Lee University -- Honors in Economics
Social Security Disability Insurance Program (U.S.)
Drug abuse -- Economic aspects
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Thesis; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]Balen V. Essak is a member of the Class of 2020 of Washington and Lee University.I examine the connection between prescription opioid use and Social Security Disability Insurance in the United States. Previous research has found that a correlation exists between opioids and disability rates, but little work has been done to understand whether a causal relationship exists between the two. I perform a county-level analysis using two exogenous shocks to prescription opioid rates, a 2010 reformulation of OxyContin and the implementation of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, to examine whether prescription opioid rates affect disability rates. The reformulation strategy yields no significant results. The strategy exploiting cross-state differences in mandatory Prescription Drug Monitoring Program implementation timing, however, yields results that are negative and significant. This finding supports previous research and suggests that increasing prescription rates cause more people to become addicted to opioids and try to leave the labor market through channels including disability insurance.Balen V. Essak