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Food Insecurity and the Opioid Crisis

Colleen Heflin, Xiaohan Sun

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2023

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin

The opioid epidemic has increased adult mortality, disrupted families, and changed labor supply—all factors that are independently associated with poverty and food insecurity.

We explore the relationship between the opioid crisis and food insecurity at the state level, first by examining the relationship of drug-related mortalities to food insecurity, and then by exploiting cross-state variations in OxyContin misuse prior to reformulation of the drug to investigate whether food insecurity increased as individuals with opioid use disorder transitioned from prescription to street drugs such as heroin.

Results provide further evidence of the presence and size of the social consequences of the opioid crises and the negative consequences associated with drug reformulation for food security.