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Opioid crisis causing shortage of US Workers

How the Opioid Crisis is Impacting the US Labor Force

The current opioid crisis gripping the US is impacting countless aspects of how the entire country functions. Increasingly, it is being shown that high numbers of prime-aged males are dropping out of the US labor force, affecting businesses and companies who rely on such people to perform important roles of employment.

As has been well-established, the seeds of the current crisis were first sown in the early 1990s, when doctors and medical professionals began to increasingly prescribe opioids as pain-relief medicine. Such painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone are very addictive, meaning that patients using such substances soon become reliant on them just to function as a normal human being.

The Cycle of Addiction Begins with the Prescription of Opioid-based Pain Medication

This starts a cycle of addiction. Once their pain medication runs out and their doctor refuses to prescribe any more, people with opioid-dependency seek out street drugs such as heroin instead. Such drugs are even more addictive and often come laced with synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Because of the poor nature of street drugs, opioid addicts are prone to overdosing on them, which can lead to death.

In 2017, economist Alan Krueger first espoused an opinion that the correlation between the rise in pain medication and the drop of available prime-aged males to the US labor force was pretty startling. Upon further research, Krueger found that 43.5 percent of prime-aged males who were unable to work stated that they had used pain medication the day before.

What is more, the loss to the labor force was greatest in states and counties where the prescription of opioid-based pain relief was at its highest.

A Solution Needs to be Found for this Issue, and Fast

Many steps have been suggested in the hopes of curbing this worrying trend, such as the legalization of marijuana (marijuana has been found to help patients reduce their reliance upon opioids), but a definite solution must be found soon. Businesses around the country are beginning to struggle or even collapse because they cannot find enough suitable prime-aged males to work for them. States where mining is a key industry such as Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, and Kentucky are really struggling, according to the latest statistics.

If you have been affected by opioid addiction and find yourself out of work, learn more about how rapid opiate detox from Advanced Rapid Detox in Pontiac, Michigan can help. Give us a call today and we’ll connect you with one of our addiction counselors to determine if our program may be a good fit for you. We can be reached 24/7 at (800) 603-1813.