Our Still-Raging Drug Epidemic

A medic escorts a 39-year-old woman to an ambulance after she was revived from an opioid overdose in Salem, Mass., August 2017. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
A new paper marks another salvo in the war over who’s to blame for America’s overdose crisis.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE L ast week brought awful news from the CDC, and for a change it wasn’t about COVID-19: After dipping slightly in 2018, raising hopes that the drug epidemic had finally started to wane, fatal overdoses hit a record high in 2019, climbing above 70,000, according to the agency’s preliminary tally.

Then, this Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research launched another salvo in the war over who’s to blame.

The title of the study, by economists Janet Currie and Hannes Schwandt, gets right to the point: “The Opioid Epidemic Was Not Caused by Economic Distress but by Factors That Could Be More Rapidly

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