Presentation Title

Too Many Kill Pills and Not Enough Chill Pills: Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

School

School of Sciences and Social Sciences

Discipline

Sociology

Mentor

Therese Seibert

Abstract

The U.S. is in the midst of the worst drug crisis ever reported, with opioid overdoses causing more than half of all drug overdose deaths. This study examines variation in opioid-induced death rates across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as contributing factors. One hypothesis is that states with higher rates of prescriptions for painkillers demonstrate higher opioid mortality rates. Another hypothesis is that states granting legal access to medicinal marijuana exhibit lower death rates. Using 2014 data from reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Drug Enforcement Agency, these hypotheses are tested with a regression model that also includes control variables. Preliminary analysis provides support for the first hypothesis. While the second hypothesis is not supported in that the relationship does not reach statistical significance, the scatterplot suggests that a decrease in opioid mortality lags behind the initial legalization.

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Too Many Kill Pills and Not Enough Chill Pills: Understanding the Opioid Epidemic

The U.S. is in the midst of the worst drug crisis ever reported, with opioid overdoses causing more than half of all drug overdose deaths. This study examines variation in opioid-induced death rates across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as contributing factors. One hypothesis is that states with higher rates of prescriptions for painkillers demonstrate higher opioid mortality rates. Another hypothesis is that states granting legal access to medicinal marijuana exhibit lower death rates. Using 2014 data from reputable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Drug Enforcement Agency, these hypotheses are tested with a regression model that also includes control variables. Preliminary analysis provides support for the first hypothesis. While the second hypothesis is not supported in that the relationship does not reach statistical significance, the scatterplot suggests that a decrease in opioid mortality lags behind the initial legalization.