We investigate the role of person-specific and place-specific factors in the opioid epidemic by analyzing cross-county migration of disabled Medicare recipients and its relationship with prescription patterns associated with opioid abuse. We find that movement to a county with a 20 percent higher rate of opioid abuse (equivalent to a move from a 25th to 75th percentile county) increases rates of opioid abuse by 4.5 percent, suggesting that roughly 20 percent of the gap between these areas is due to place-specific factors. These effects are particularly pronounced for prior opioid users, who experience an increase in opioid abuse nearly 1.5 times larger than the increase for opioid naives.
What Drives Prescription Opioid Use by People with Disabilities? Evidence from Migration
Investigators: Amy Finkelstein (MIT and NBER), Matthew Gentzkow (Stanford and NBER) and Heidi Williams (MIT and NBER)
Disability Support (DI and SSI)