The US Opioid Epidemic: State Laws, Prescription Opioids and Crime

37 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2019

See all articles by Claudio Deiana

Claudio Deiana

University of Cagliari - Department of Economics; University of Essex - Department of Economics

Ludovica Giua

European Commission, Joint Research Centre; University of Essex - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 17, 2019

Abstract

In response to the recent opioid crisis, US states have implemented several policies to reduce the dispensing of opioids and curb drug mortality. Exploiting a long panel of county-level data, we analyse the effects of a wide range of state laws on opioids per capita sold and their unintended fallouts on drug-related crime. We show that only laws targeting the supply for opioids reduce the volume of prescribed drugs, while demand-side policies yield to a slight increase in prescription rates. The drop in opioids distributed due to supply-side regulations is also accompanied by negative externalities in the local market for illicit drugs. Moreover, we provide evidence of a considerable heterogeneity in effects depending on initial socioeconomic characteristics and local drug environment factors. Finally, we show that legal dispensaries of medical cannabis reduce the amount of painkillers distributed and that there are remarkable complementarities among opioid state laws and marijuana dispensaries.

Keywords: Opioid Laws, Prescription Opioids, Drugs, Medical Marijuana, Crime

JEL Classification: I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Deiana, Claudio and Giua, Ludovica, The US Opioid Epidemic: State Laws, Prescription Opioids and Crime (August 17, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3445962 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3445962

Claudio Deiana (Contact Author)

University of Cagliari - Department of Economics ( email )

Cagliari, 09124
Italy

University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Ludovica Giua

European Commission, Joint Research Centre ( email )

Via E. Fermi 2749
Ispra (VA), I-21027
Italy

University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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