The impacts of the contemporary U.S. drug overdose crisis on child and family wellbeing have been profound. This brief describes the link between county-level opioid overdose rates and children’s test scores, finding that counties with higher overdose rates have lower average 3rd and 8th-grade test scores than counties with lower overdose rates. The relationship between higher overdose rates and lower test scores is particularly strong in rural counties. The places with the highest overdose rates and lowest test scores tend to be economically-disadvantaged, suggesting that economic investments may be needed to address the issue.
Opioid Crisis, Demography, Education
Demography, Population, and Ecology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Substance Abuse and Addiction
For More Information
The authors thank Shannon Monnat for providing edits on an earlier version of this brief. This brief is part of a series of briefs summarizing findings from a special issue of the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science on the social and community consequences of the U.S. opioid crisis.
Darolia, R., Owens, S., & Tyler, J. (2023). U.S. Counties with Higher Drug Overdose Rates Have Lower School Test Scores. Lerner Center Population Health Research Brief Series. 218. https://surface.syr.edu/lerner/218
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