Regional Approaches to Combating the United States’ Opioid Epidemic

By Spencer Papay, Columbia University

This paper investigates the relationship between federally-funded community health centers and opioid overdoses across America’s distinct geographic regions. Using panel data from 1999 to 2016 and including local controls as well as time and state fixed effects, I find that each community health center per 100,000 people is associated with a 4.5 to 15.6% decrease in opioid overdoses in that region. For areas without significant impact of community health centers, I investigate the impact of Good Samaritan Laws on the same outcomes and find that they are associated with a 20.8% decrease in opioid overdoses compared to states that do not enact them. These results can be successfully leveraged to inform both federal- and state-level policies delineated in this paper that can continue to battle the nation’s opioid crisis.

Read the full paper here.

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