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An Evaluation of American Opioid Epidemic: Threat Levels and Policy Response on a State-by-State Basis

Presenters Name: 
Katherine DesCamp-Renner
Co Presenters Name: 
Indigo Milne
Primary Research Mentor: 
Jerry White
Secondary Research Mentor: 
2:15 - 2:30
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 2:15pm to 2:30pm
Room 389
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
USOAR Program

The purpose of this project was to evaluate strategies for addressing the opioid epidemic and predict the future of the epidemic for individual American states. Opioid overdoses lead to roughly 116 deaths per day across the United States. Policy responses vary drastically by state, and many programs are not supported by data on their impact of addressing the crisis. This project attempts to determine which states will experience an increased or decreased threat level in 2019. We collected data on state policy initiatives and indications of the current severity of the crisis in each state. We then used, giStrat, a hybrid conjoint analysis reverse-induction game-theory model to create an index of the threat the opioid epidemic poses in each state. The results of the giStrat analysis revealed that in general, most states face high levels of threat and from a policy standpoint are vastly underprepared to address this threat. However, states also vary widely in the overall levels of threat they face, and some states have already begun to enact significant policy solutions to the crisis. This research is significant because it highlights that on the aggregate level, the United States is not prepared to counteract the opioid epidemic, and could face a significant worsening of the crisis. However, this report also provides solid data to support the importance of certain policies in lessening the impact of the crisis, thereby providing a framework with which state and local officials can begin to address the opioid epidemic.