The War on Drugs: Estimating the Effect of Prescription Drug Supply-Side Interventions
78 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016 Last revised: 8 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 7, 2016
This paper estimates the effect of supply-side interventions on prescription drug availability, abuse, and crime. I employ novel data and exploit the timing and geographic location of a crackdown on legal suppliers of pharmaceuticals in Florida, the epicenter of America's prescription drug abuse epidemic during the 2000s. Between 2010-12, nearly 600 pain clinics were shutdown. In turn, average oxycodone quantities decreased 59%, oxycodone street prices increased 238%, opioid abuse treatment admissions increased 33%, and approximately 2,000 oxycodone-related deaths were averted. Spillovers from substitution to illegal drugs were modest, with approximately 139 new heroin-related deaths and no increase in crime.
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