Recent work has demonstrated rising drug overdose mortality following industrial decline due to exposure to foreign trade. Despite experiencing similar declines in manufacturing-sector opportunities, some areas of the United States have fared better than others with regards to both opioid overdose mortality and shares of workers claiming disability. This project aims to examine whether the relationship between declining economic opportunities in the manufacturing sector between 1999-2016 and both opioid overdose mortality and rising application and receipt of disability benefits varied across different local areas. We also aim to identify underlying socioeconomic, health sector, and policy factors that drive the different responses to economic decline. Specifically, the project will answer the following questions: Do areas vary in the extent to which opioid overdose mortality and disability benefit application and receipt rates rise as a consequence of manufacturing industry decline? Which socioeconomic and policy factors explain why opioid overdose mortality and SSI/SSDI application and receipt rise in some areas more than others following a similar decline in manufacturing employment opportunities? Answers to these questions have implications for the design and implementation of policies to alleviate worsening population health and disability in areas experiencing economic changes.
WI20-08: Declining Economic Opportunity, Rising Overdose Rates, & DI Receipt