How the loss of industry preceded middle America's opioid crisis.
President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency on Thursday in a speech given in the East Room of the White House. There are a number of factors driving this crisis, and there isn't a single solution out there, either.
But as Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul writes in a piece published on Medium on Thursday, economic despair is one of the contributors, and implementing policy solutions to create more economic opportunity is one of the things that must happen to alleviate the crisis. He writes:
"The underlying cause is despair. The despair in believing a new job will never come, wages will never rise, and the social fabric of the family and the community damaged by layoffs will never be repaired. ... Putting workers first, delivering true reform of our trade policies, investing in our infrastructure, preparing for artificial intelligence, incentivizing start-ups, and rediscovering our spirit of making things all seem like reasonable solutions."
We know what you are thinking — of course the organization that works on manufacturing policy is going to take advantage of a news hook to push its agenda. But don't take our word for it; Princeton University researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton have shown a link, noting that "deaths of despair among those without a university degree are primarily the result of a 40-year stagnation of median real wages and a long-term decline in the number of well-paying jobs for those without a bachelor's degree."