Stories

Study: Don't blame opioid crisis on the economy

A close-up of pills.
Photo: David McNew / Getty

The phrase "deaths of despair" gained wide use after economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton reported that life expectancy for middle-aged Americans without a college degree was falling due to rising suicides and deaths related to drugs and alcohol.

Quick take: Case and Deaton argue that the primary cause of the trend is economic, but in a new paper, economist Christopher Ruhm places the blame on drug price and availability.