NEW YORK – A new study found that automotive plant closures may be linked with a rise in opioid overdose deaths.
Overdose death rates in a county where a plant closed was 85-percent higher five years after the closure, than in counties that did not have closures.
The study examined 112 U.S. manufacturing counties, 29 of which had plant closures between 1999 and 2016.
Researchers looked at working-age adults, between 18 to 65-years-old.
It found only an association between plant closures and opioid overdose death rates, not a causal relationship.
More research is necessary to unpack the complexities of that association.
The economy and other social factors could be playing roles in those deaths, and the factors may include a shortage of steady jobs for people without a college degree.
The study was published Monday in the Medical Journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
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