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How Do Income Levels Effect the Opioid Epidemic?

New AAEA member research release in AJAE

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported in March that “every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.” On September 17, 2018, the Senate passed a sweeping opioid package of bills to help combat the opioid epidemic. Part of this package requires the Food and Drug Administration to prescribe opioid pills in smaller quantities.

Michael Betz from The Ohio State University and AAEA Member, publishes new research in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics on “Wage and Employment Growth in America’s Drug Epidemic: Is All Growth Created Equal?” They look into how employment and wage growth impact county opioid overdose rates differently for high, medium and low paying industries.

Betz says “that wage and employment growth in industries are more likely to employ low-skill workers which are important protective factors for rural, white males.” Betz continued to say “In rural areas, a 1% increase in mid-paying jobs, results in about 0.15% fewer overdose deaths per 100,000 people.”

The article “Wage and Employment Growth in America’s Drug Epidemic: Is All Growth Created Equal?” is now available to public, for a limited time, on the American Journal of Agricultural Economics website.

If you are interested in setting up an interview with Michael Betz, please contact Allison Scheetz in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Scheetz
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190