Could opioids actually have a positive effect on work?

In a new working paper, “U.S. Employment and Opioids: Is There a Connection?” respected health economist Janet Currie and others find, “[A]lthough they are addictive and dangerous, opioids may allow some women to work who would otherwise leave the labor force.”

Overall, our findings suggest that there is no simple causal relationship between economic conditions and the abuse of opioids. Therefore, while improving economic conditions in depressed areas is desirable for many reasons, it is unlikely to curb the opioid epidemic.