Three Essays on the Broader Effects of the Opioid Crisis

by Sujeong Park

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My dissertation investigates the unintended consequences of opioid policies, OxyContin reformulation and prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) on crime, labor supply, and child welfare. The first paper examines the reformulation effects on crime, focusing on murder, by using a difference-in-difference methodology. This study provides evidence that the reformulation policy responding to the opioid epidemic has the unintended effect of increasing murder victims. The second paper evaluates the effects of OxyContin reformulation on labor supply and Social Security Disability Insurance take-up. The analysis results show that the implementation of OxyContin reformulation increased SSDI applications and decreased labor force participation. The last paper analyzes the effects of PDMP on child welfare outcomes. I analyzed whether implementing a PDMP leads to an increase in children living with their grandparents instead of their parents. This change could occur if the PDMP decreases the supply of prescription opioids leading some people to switch to heroin or other illegal opioids and are unable to care for their children. I used a reduced form model, and my results indicate that the implementation of must-access PDMP did increase the proportion of children living with their grandparents.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Growth of Illicit Drug Use and its Effects on Murder Rates

  • Chapter Three

    Is the Rise in Illicit Opioids Affecting Labor Supply and Disability Claiming Rates?

  • Chapter Four

    What is the Effect of the Opioid Crisis on Child Welfare Outcomes?

  • Chapter Five

    Policy Implications

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in July 2021 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Jeanne Ringel (Chair), David Powell, Rosanna Smart. and Brendan Saloner (outside reader).

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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