NPR, September 8, 2017
Yuki Noguchi

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[...] Economists estimate 1.5 million working-age people are missing from the labor force, not working or looking for work. It is not clear to what extent the country's heroin and opioid painkiller epidemic is affecting declining participation, especially among prime-age men, those 25 to 54. But in many communities such as Muncie, it is clear that the proliferation of opioid abuse is having a big enough impact for employers and the community to take notice.

Those with opioid addictions tell strikingly similar stories, in which work takes a back seat to an intensifying compulsion for the drug. They're sleepy on them, and horribly sick when they aren't. They say the physical impact is worse than with other drugs. Those I interviewed described a deepening alienation that ultimately includes both family and work. In lieu of jobs, most say they eventually supported themselves by dealing drugs. [...]

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