Opioid Epidemic Affecting the Economy?



Before the opioid epidemic took full hold, people were skeptical as to the relationship between doctors prescribing opioids and the rate of addiction. Recent studies which have shadowed emergency room doctors found that high prescribing doctors, meaning they had a higher rate of prescribing opioids, had patients who were more likely to use opioids on a long-term basis, as opposed to the short-term requirement of their treatment. As opioid abuse found its peak, the economy found a recession. Bloomberg recently wrote on the opioid epidemic affecting economy and noted that during the recession when there was a great loss in jobs, Americans were turning to painkillers to reduce stress which was like finding psychosomatic manifestations in physical pain.

According to a paper cited in the article, “…nearly half of prime-age men not in the labor force take pain medication every day, much of it prescription strength.” For whatever reason working-age men are taking pain medication every day, they are unable to work. It might be injuries or illness. Once they become addicted to opioids, or opioid dependent, there is no returning to work anytime soon. More importantly, the article points out, “…there’s no obvious reason why so many more prime-age men should have become injured and sick in recent years. It seems likely that the abuse of painkillers– and, later, addiction to heroin– makes many people not want to work.”

Bloomberg’s logic is all but obvious, yet with an unfortunate hint of stigma. Abuse of opioid painkillers “and, later, addiction to heroin” doesn’t make many people not want to work. Addiction is an illness of mind, body, and spirit, which constitutionally changes the way an individual’s brain operates, the way their body functions, and the way they relate to the world. Addiction doesn’t turn otherwise healthy workers into suddenly lazy and uninterested workers. Addiction causes someone to become sick and unable to work. Opioid addiction takes a vicious grip on the body, causing dangerous symptoms of withdrawal when too long of a time period has passed before a next dose. Being high on opioids can make someone a danger to the workplace as well.

Job loss and negative impacts on the economy due to the opioid epidemic are severe considering dozens of Americans are overdosing on the widely prescribed painkillers or illegal heroin every day.

Are you struggling to get back to work because of your opioid addiction? You can recover. Get Real Recovery offers multiple programs for healing from opioid addiction. Our goal is to help you eliminate all of the self-sabotaging behaviors which keep you in the cycle of addiction and teach you how to succeed in sobriety. For more information, call 866-983-3651.

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