Monday, February 05, 2018 by Ethan Huff
Desperate to avert all eyes away from perhaps the biggest culprit, pharmaceutical overprescription, researchers have come up with a hilarious new explanation for the burgeoning opioid crisis in America today: climate change.
Stephan Goetz, a professor of agricultural and regional economics at Penn State University, contends that natural disasters supposedly spurred on by global warming are among the culprits driving opioid overdoses.
He says that areas where there are more natural disasters tend to have a more serious opioid problem than areas where the weather is more calm. And in his view, severe weather events apparently always point to climate change – which desperate leftists (in case you haven’t noticed) are blaming on almost everything these days.
Using data from F.E.M.A. (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) on presidentially declared disasters, Goetz found that things like hurricanes, droughts, and floods often occur in locales where opioid abuse is problematic. Based on this correlation, his conclusion is that climate change is directly spurring opioid overdoses and deaths.
Goetz also says income plays a role, as data suggests that each $10,000 reduction in net income per farm is associated with a 10 percent increase in opioid overdoses. And if you blame farm losses on global warming, as he apparently is, then this is also a cause of global warming.
“Our results confirm that economic factors, including income especially and unemployment, as well as population density – or rurality – are important,” Goetz is quoted as saying. “As we are controlling for economic factors, population density appears to play an independent role in accounting for the disparate death rates.”
Even though farmers represent as little as one percent of the population in any given community, Goetz believes that it’s still an important factor to consider when evaluating the opioid crisis. In his view, there exists a “spillover effect” whenever farmers lose crops and become dependent upon opioids, all due to global warming, of course.
He does, however, accurately point to the fact that weather-related farm losses pale in comparison to the societal costs associated with addressing the opioid epidemic – which, as of 2015, cost nearly half a trillion dollars per year.
“To give some sense of this, the opioid crisis is a problem that is magnitudes of order larger than the costs associated with weather-related disasters in 2017,” he says. “This is a far-reaching problem – and it cuts across social, economic and political lines.”
The good news is that opioid abuse is the most problematic among older people in the 45- to 64-year-old age range. Younger people, Goetz says, aren’t nearly as addicted to opioids – which could be because many of them use natural herbs like mitragyna speciosa (kratom) and cannabis sativa (marijuana) instead.
Another deterrent to opioid abuse is self-employment, Goetz says. Contrary to what many people might assume, managing one’s own living without a boss isn’t so burdensome that it drives entrepreneurs to pick up an opioid prescription habit or start to inject heroin.
“Sometimes we think of the self-employed, or entrepreneurs as more stressed and as people who might be looking for an escape from those pressures, but that doesn’t appear to be the case in opioid use,” Goetz contends.
He also points to a lack of mental health treatment facilities in many rural areas of the country where opioid abuse is most prominent as another possibility driving this epidemic. Potential stigmas about treating mental health problems that might lead to opioid abuse are another concern that needs to be addressed, he says.
“These are all important issues to consider and they could be addressed through educational or other programs,” Goetz concludes.
See more coverage of bizarre climate science theories at Climate.news.
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