The ongoing opioid epidemic is the biggest public health crisis since HIV and AIDS came onto the scene over three decades ago. The causes of the crisis are myriad, as documented by Sam Quinones's powerful book Dreamland and recently highlighted by the Chairman’s Office of the Joint Economic Committee. But against this complex backdrop, we know that it is not simply good or bad luck that determines who succumbs to opioid addiction.
The Social Capital Project is exploring the relationship between having an unhealthy associational life and dying from several causes that suggest social disrepair. These “deaths of despair,” to use the evocative phrase of Anne Case and Angus Deaton, include those from opioid and other drug overdoses, as well as those from suicides and alcoholic liver disease. The Project is also assessing the social disrepair caused by the opioid crisis—the collateral damage to families, communities, and institutions as a result of these drugs.
For the full report and interactive maps click here.