Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Just in case you thought the climate movement and Penn State University couldn’t sink any lower.
Climate Change Could Make The Opioid Crisis Worse
March 24th, 2018
By Marlene Cimons
America’s opioid epidemic has dominated the news media in recent years, as drug overdose deaths have escalated, decimating lives and families. And while climate change may not be top of mind in discussions about how to effectively deal with this crisis, it’s a factor that shouldn’t be ignored. Global warming spawns extreme weather, which begets destruction and despair, a dangerous scenario for people looking for a way to numb their emotional pain.
“It is reasonable to expect that damage and destruction cause emotional and mental health problems and lead to drug abuse, both new and existing users,” said Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics at Pennsylvania State University. “There are long-lasting effects of such calamities, and they do not tend to diminish.”
His data, which examined the trends for all U.S. counties over four decades, show an increase in drug-related deaths associated with natural disasters, particularly in rural areas. “Given that, in the United States, climatic disasters dominate disaster declarations and some of them — precipitation, floods, droughts — may become more frequent and intense due to climate change, our results do indicate we may see increased deaths from opioids, all else unchanged,” he said.
See – the solution to the US opioid crisis is to build more wind turbines and solar installations, and to provide more funding for climate research.