Deaths of despair: Opioids, community, and the economy - AEI

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Event Summary

AEI’s Sally Satel and Nicholas Eberstadt joined a distinguished panel Wednesday to begin a series of conversations addressing the opioid crisis ravaging the nation.

Dr. Satel began the event by surveying both the epidemiology and recent journalism to frame the problem in a contemporary context. The Weekly Standard’s Christopher Caldwell situated today’s epidemic within America’s rich history of substance abuse and further described the cultural factors underpinning today’s crisis. Dr. Eberstadt provided a quantitative overview of the social, cultural, and economic factors driving overdose deaths and what policymakers might need to know for solutions going forward.

Shifting gears to the policy side, the University of Chicago’s Harold Pollack spoke on role of the federal government, particularly the role of Medicaid, to promote treatment and prevent overdose. Concluding, Danny Seiden, deputy chief of staff for external affairs and policy development to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, further examined policy solutions, focusing specifically on Arizona efforts and stressing the importance of prevention.

Event Description

Beginning in the late 1990s, deaths from alcoholism-related liver disease, suicide, and opioid overdoses began to climb nationwide. Such “deaths of despair,” as Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton call them, most frequently strike less educated whites, both men and women, between the ages of 45 and 54. Rates of opioid abuse, addiction, and fatal overdose rise along with unemployment.

A distinguished panel will discuss the forces contributing to the problem. What kinds of clinical, social welfare, and economic programs and policies can reverse it, and what role should the federal government play? This will be the first in a series of discussions on opioids and society.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


Agenda

10:15 AM
Registration

10:30 AM
Introduction:
Sally Satel, AEI

10:35 AM
Panel discussion

Participants:
Christopher Caldwell, The Weekly Standard
Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI
Harold Pollack, University of Chicago
Danny Seiden, Office of the Governor, Arizona

Moderator:
Sally Satel, AEI

11:45 AM
Q&A

12:00 PM
Adjournment


Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Clayton Hale at [email protected], 202.862.5920.


Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.


Speaker Biographies

Christopher Caldwell is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard. He is a columnist for the Financial Times and the author of “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West” (Anchor, 2010). His writing also frequently appears in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, where he is a contributing editor to the paper’s magazine.

Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at AEI, where he researches and writes extensively on demographics and economic development generally, and more specifically on international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Domestically, he focuses on poverty and social well-being. Dr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). His many books and monographs include “The End of North Korea” (AEI Press, 1999); “The Poverty of the Poverty Rate” (AEI Press, 2008); and “Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis” (NBR, 2010). His latest book is “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis” (Templeton Press, 2016). He has offered invited testimony before Congress on numerous occasions and has served as consultant or adviser for a variety of units in the US government. His appearances on radio and television range from NPR to CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” Dr. Eberstadt has a Ph.D. in political economy and government, an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government, and a B.A. from Harvard University. In addition, he holds a master’s of science from the London School of Economics. In 2012, Dr. Eberstadt was awarded the prestigious Bradley Prize.

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He is also an affiliate professor in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division and the Department of Public Health Sciences. He is codirector of the University of Chicago Crime Lab and a committee member of the Center for Health Administration Studies at the University of Chicago. Dr. Pollack has been appointed to three committees of the National Academy of Sciences. Previously, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at Yale University and taught health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He has published widely at the interface between poverty policy and public health. His research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, American Journal of Public Health, Health Services Research, Pediatrics, and Social Service Review, and his writings have appeared in The Washington Post, The Nation, The New York Times, New Republic, and other popular publications. His American Prospect essay, “Lessons from an Emergency Room, Nightmare,” was selected for the collection “The Best American Medical Writing 2009” (Kaplan Publishing, 2009). He received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University. He holds master’s and doctorate degrees in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Sally Satel is a resident scholar at AEI and the staff psychiatrist at Partners in Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation Counseling. Dr. Satel was an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University from 1988 to 1993. From 1993 to 1994, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow with the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. She has written widely in academic journals on topics in psychiatry and medicine and has published articles on cultural aspects of medicine and science in numerous magazines and journals. Her essays have appeared in the 2003 and 2008 editions of “Best American Science Writing.” She has testified before Congress on veterans’ mental health and disability, federal funding for mental health, and substance abuse. Dr. Satel is author of “Drug Treatment: The Case for Coercion” (AEI Press, 1999) and “PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine” (Basic Books, 2001). She is the coauthor of “One Nation Under Therapy” (St. Martin’s Press, 2005) and “The Health Disparity Myth” (AEI Press, 2006) and editor of “When Altruism Isn’t Enough: The Case for Compensating Organ Donors” (AEI Press, 2009). She most recently coauthored “Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience” (Basic Books, 2013).

Danny Seiden is the deputy chief of staff for external affairs and policy development to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. Before joining Governor Ducey’s administration, he was appointed special assistant county attorney in charge of policy and legislation for Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. At the county, Mr. Seiden managed the policy and external affairs agenda for the third-largest prosecutorial agency in the country. On behalf of County Attorney Montgomery, he successfully advocated for significant policy reforms, such as the restructuring of the state’s Child Protective Services agency, heightened penalties for those who traffic minors, and several important pieces of victims’ rights legislation, including Arizona’s “life means life” law. Before that, he was in private practice at the law firm of Gallagher & Kennedy. Mr. Seiden has a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University and graduated cum laude from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law.

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