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.

Document Type

Research Brief


Opioid Crisis, Food Insecurity


Health Policy | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Substance Abuse and Addiction






The authors of this brief thank Dr. Shannon Monnat and Emily Minnoe for their editorial feedback on an earlier draft. 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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.