Current Issue

The Social and Community Consequences of the Opioid Epidemic

Special Editors: Rajeev Darolia and Colleen Heflin

Vol. 703, September 2022

Interest in public health in recent years has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the opioid epidemic continues to rage. Opioid-related deaths in the U.S. have surged from 50,000 in 2019 to 81,000 in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to these deaths, but other pressures on public health, social service, and education systems have also played a role.

Research on the opioid epidemic has understandably focused on individuals with opioid and substance use disorders, and the best treatment options and preventative measures available to them. Researchers have given short shrift, though, to the impact of the crisis on families and communities, and the greater societal costs of the epidemic. Because the effects of the opioid epidemic have not been equally distributed across gender, age, and race/ethnicity, more localized and specific estimates are necessary in understanding the true reach of epidemic.

This volume of the ANNALS aims to improve our understanding of the consequences of the opioid epidemic in a variety of societal and community domains, including child well-being, education, housing security, food security, labor productivity, and public budgets. Here, a cross- disciplinary group of researchers considers the social and community consequences of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. and Canada using a variety of measures to both improve public understanding of the sweep of the crisis and to inform the public response.

From the Archives

Truth as a Weapon in the Free World
Vol. 278, November, 1951
Richard Brecker

From the Introduction

In an address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 20, 1950, President Truman declared that it was necessary for us to “make ourselves heard round the world in a great campaign of truth.” Calling attention to the vital importance of the psychological front in the present battle for world friendship, the President noted that the task of presenting the truth “to the millions who are uninformed or misinformed or unconvinced… is not separate and distinct from other elements of our foreign policy. It is as important as armed strength or economic aid.  ‘We must,’ he said, ‘pool our efforts with those of the other free peoples in a sustained, intensified program to promote the cause of freedom against the propaganda of slavery.'”