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Three Essays on the Broader Effects of the Opioid Crisis

Park, Sujeong – 2021

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. (Author abstract)