Map of Death –

DECEMBER 5, 2019 – A common theory for the opioid crisis is that it developed from abuse and over-prescription of legal opioids. The study, however, finds this theory holds only in rural areas. It reads: “Rural industrial decline left a legacy of unemployed and underemployed people with some form of work disability,” and notes that “… a plausible treatment for work-related pain, likely involving opioids prescribed by a health provider, helped start the cycle of opioid addiction that would culminate in the current crisis.”

But another part of the explanation comes from the fact that many of these places have long histories of drug and alcohol abuse. As the study points out, “the current rural opioid crisis is part of a broader drug problem, taking root in smaller communities with an existing drug user population and/or socioeconomic conditions favorable to drug abuse.”

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