Economic Insights on Illicit Drug Use
This session brings together three innovative studies that examine the social costs of alcohol and drug use. Together, these papers offer a coherent and interesting session aimed at an important public health priority. The session will be chaired by Padmaja Ayyagari of the University of Iowa. Dean Lillard, Jody Sindelar, and Laura Fumagalli have agreed to act as discussants. The first paper, presented by David Powell of RAND Corporation, investigates the role of OxyContin reformulation on the recent dramatic rise in heroin-related mortality. The authors find that OxyContin misuse is a strong predictor of larger increases in both heroin substance abuse treatment admissions and heroin-related mortality. They also find that reformulation led to substitution towards more powerful legal opioids. The second paper, presented by Isaac Swenson of Montana State University, examines how college football games effect the incidence of sexual assault on and around college campuses. The authors find that Division 1 football games increase daily reports of rape with 17-24 year old victims. They also find that other alcohol-related offenses increase after football games, suggesting that higher sexual assault risk is driven by partying behavior. The third paper, presented by Yu-Wei Luke Chu of Victoria University, investigates the effect of medical marijuana laws on student time use based on American Time Use Survey. The authors find that medical marijuana laws decrease homework and in-class time but increase television time among part-time college students, but not high school or full-time college students. Effects are also stronger among historically disadvantaged populations.