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*** UPDATED x1 *** Study: Opioid crisis driving down labor force participation

Friday, Oct 27, 2017

* Whoa…

* From the story

Over the last 15 years, the labor force participation rate fell more in counties where more opioids were prescribed. Here’s a county-by-county look at the relationship between the change in the labor force participation rate at the state level and the opioid prescription rate at the county level […]

Krueger notes that, “Regardless of the direction of causality, the opioid crisis and depressed labor force participation are now intertwined in many parts of the U.S.” He argues that finding a solution to the decades-long slide in labor force participation by prime-age men should be “a national priority.” Men who are outside the workforce, he writes, express very low levels of subjective well-being and report deriving relatively little meaning from their daily activities. […]

Because nearly half of this group [men who are out of the labor force] reported being in poor health, it may be possible for expanded health insurance coverage and preventative care under the Affordable Care Act to positively affect the health of prime age men going forward. The finding that nearly half of NLF [not in the labor force] prime age men take pain medication on a daily basis and that 40 percent report that pain prevents them from accepting a job suggests that pain management interventions could potentially be helpful.

*** UPDATE ***  Ugh

The drug company founder now charged with leading a nationwide conspiracy to bribe doctors and pharmacists to overprescribe an opioid cancer pain drug once was listed among Arizona’s richest billionaires.

John N. Kapoor, the founder of Insys Therapeutics, several years ago was listed by Forbes as having a worth of $2.4 billion. That worth has fallen amid the indictments of numerous fellow Insys executives, but Forbes still listed Kapoor’s worth at $1.75 billion on Thursday as he went to U.S. federal court in the fraud and racketeering case.

Kapoor is also the longtime chairman of the board of Akorn Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Lake Forest. Akorn is in the process of being acquired by German health care company Fresenius Kabi for $4.3 billion. That deal is expected to close by early next year, subject to regulatory approval. […]

The new indictment alleges Kapoor and the other defendants offered bribes to doctors to write large numbers of prescriptions for the fentanyl-based pain medication that is meant only for cancer patients with severe pain. Most people who received prescriptions did not have cancer.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Chicagonk - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 9:50 am:

    Makes sense. I worked with someone who was so addicted to opiates that they could hardly function the last 10 days of the month after they had gone through their monthly prescription. And they went through this every month. Amazing they kept their job as long as they did.

  2. - HangingOn - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    Sadly I once had to testify against an old boss who had an addiction to pain meds. He would have meetings in rooms with nobody else there, and he sold his company only to try to steal it back (hid all the equipment from the new owners and changed the locks) about a month later. It was scary sometimes to be around him.

  3. - Honeybear - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 9:59 am:

    Holy moose crap. That is terrifying.

  4. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:01 am:

    Tough to work when you’re on the nod all day long.

  5. - Phil King - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:09 am:

    One more good reason to support marijuana legalization. Marijuana can treat chronic pain as good or better than opioids and doesn’t have the negative side effects. It’s working in Colorado:

  6. - jwI - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    I know a lot of people who know as much or more about certain drugs than most pharmacy

  7. - Rabid - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    Oxycotin is colloquial with synthetic heroin, right up there with pot and LSD. When did it get rescheduled

  8. - Epic - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:13 am:

    “Because nearly half of this group [men who are out of the labor force] reported being in poor health, it may be possible for expanded health insurance coverage and preventative care under the Affordable Care Act to positively affect the health of prime age men going forward.”

    Well to bad republicans are doing the opposite of that, and it’s sad to think that many of the people who would have benefited from this likely voted Republican.

    Don’t worry though the people’s champion, President Trump declared a state of emergency to combat this so it will be resolved soon, bigley /sarcasm

  9. - Res Melius - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:14 am:

    This is similar to the map of the percentage of residents younger than 65 receiving social security disability benefits. Not a good trend.

  10. - Annonin' - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:16 am:

    This can’t true. We all know that the participation rate dropped because of Obama.
    It seems like this is completely in the hands of the Rx companies and drugstores. Perhaps big pharma and Mr “Build The Wall” could a develop a plan to control the flow

  11. - David - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    Illinois looks among least affected. It may make our numbers look worse because we have more in labor force.

  12. - yinn - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    I’m sure everybody needs to attribute every problem to the “opioid crisis” right now, but the headlines that suggest or even state causation are misleading. Of course the biggest issue is the rising — and now alarming — level of disability in prime working age years. Are opioids themselves causing disability? I doubt it. While the author does talk about poor health and the need for better healthcare, what’s the origin of the poor health? It’s likely economic factors: having to overwork due to wage stagnation/erosion, stress from financial pressures, etc. What’s lacking in the study is socioeconomic data and analysis to complete the picture. Until that is done, it might as well just be propaganda in support of another “war on drugs” crackdown, instead of a proper tool for helping craft policies that “lift all boats.”

  13. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    Curious what state policies are causing certain neighboring states to have such wildly divergent outcomes.

    Like why is Wisconsin so different than Michigan? Or Louisiana from Arkansas or Mississippi? Tougher pharm regs?

  14. - don the legend - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    overlay one of those red/blue maps and it looks like dark green = Trump and light green = Clinton.

  15. - David - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    Lots of good points here and they all show we have big problems.The only good news for the US is our main competition does top. In China it’s death and diability from pollution.Its not good when your only good news is more has news.

  16. - Anonymoose - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 11:38 am:

    The disability statement is a non-sequiter. The areas highlighted in the Bloomberg article seem to be areas with a prevalence of unskilled manual labor and an marginally educated workforce with no transferable skills. That demographic (especially of they are over 50) is the most likely candidate to be approved for disability. The skilled worker with a history of light or sedentary work - not so much.

  17. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    Sorry, but it really angers me when people want to repeal the ACA and cut health insurance. People need help with drug addiction. These are our fellow Illinoisans and Americans, no matter how they vote and behave politically.

    People want to take health insurance away from the “least of these,” the people who are low-income and have dread diseases like cancer, and those with drug addiction who need help. Many people are cold about it, saying they should never have to pay so others can get help with insurance. I can’t accept that.

  18. - wordslinger - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    RTW doesn’t appear to be keeping those in the heart of Dixie from leading the nation in dropping out of the work force.

  19. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    Until we see a map with real data rather than “low” and “high”, take this with a grain of salt. The real difference between light green and dark green may only be a few percentage points, not enough to make sweeping generalizations with respect to RTW, political affiliation, race, etc. Must everything be about scoring political points, even on a blog largely devoted to political discussion? The real takeaway is that the country as a whole has a major problem with opioid use and unemployment.

  20. - Blue dog dem - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    Half the NFL. With the best trainers and doctors in thw world. I wonder how many of our high school football players are taking something.

  21. - Obamas Puppy - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    Those “red states” are awfully green. hmmmm?

  22. - Fako Ruiner - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    John N. Kapoor donated $500,000 to fight Arizona’s Cannabis Ballot Referendum. Nice guy. Hope he enjoys a long life in prison.

  23. - Perrid - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    @Stuntman BOB, you know you can click on the links right?
    Or go to the link below and download the presentation and the data from the menu on the right. It’s there if you want to go fishing.

  24. - CapnCrunch - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:26 pm:

    A map showing higher education degree completion rate for population 25 years and older by county shows a similar pattern. So does a map showing adult obesity percentages.

  25. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:48 pm:

    Maybe I missed something somewhere in the article and comments but if you are addicted to a controlled substance (without a prescription) it’s hard to find work if you have to pass a drug test.

  26. - anon - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:48 pm:

    Map shows only “prescribed” opiates. So not any use of street opioids like heroin? Might explain why Chicago looks on the map like it has no opioid problem. And feeds into the it’s only a crisis we care about when it’s white people problem. Addiction is no less of a problem just because there’s no prescription.

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