Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health
Population Health Research Brief Series
Colleen Heflin and Xiaohan Sun
The massive surge in opioid misuse and overdose over the past three decades has led to major family, economic, and social disruptions in the United States. OxyContin® - a highly potent, extended-release opioid was among the most commonly-abused narcotics throughout the 2000s. After reformulating OxyContin® to make it more difficult to inhale or inject, many people with opioid use disorders switched to using street drugs. The reformulation had many other unanticipated consequences. This brief shows that states with higher initial OxyContin® misuse rates had an increase in food insecurity after OxyContin® reformulation. The authors argue that public policies must consider not only the direct addiction-related health needs of people who use drugs but also consider their food, housing, transportation, and other needs.