New Study Finds Geographic Overlap In Opioid Use And Trump Support In 2016

A new cross-sectional study of socioeconomic measurements at a county level and a national sample of Medicare claims discovered that chronic use of prescription opioids was highly correlated with support for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

According to the study titled “Association of Chronic Opioid Use With Presidential Voting Patterns in US Counties in 2016,” which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on June 22, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch discovered that Trump won about 60 percent of the vote in the 693 counties with the highest rates of opioid use (90-day supply or more Medicare opioid prescriptions). Trump won 39 percent of the 2016 vote in the 638 counties with the lowest rates of long-term opioid use.

Figure 1. Opioid Use and Voting Patterns by County 

(A) 2015 Long-term opioid use by county

“The first map shows the percentage of older Medicare beneficiaries who had an opioid supply covering more than 90 days in 2015, ordered by quintile at the county level. Approximately 1 in 5 counties had long-term opioid prescribing rates greater than 20.10%, while a similar proportion had rates of less than 10.85%. Counties with the highest rates were predominately concentrated in the South and Appalachian areas, as well as Michigan and some western states.”

(B) 2016 Percentage Trump vote by county

“The second map shows the percentage of the presidential vote for the Republican candidate for each county, also ordered by quintile. The 2 maps share some similar patterns….Counties in the Great Plains states and also in the Deep South were more likely to be discordant in the 2 measures.

These illustrations from the study, depict rates of long-term opioid use and the 2016 Trump vote share at the county level, which reveals some correlation. Specific regions of the country, including parts of Appalachia, Rust Belt, Southern and Western United States show a strong relationship on both maps.

Some regions lacked parallelism between both maps, including much of the Northern Plains (low opioid rates, high Trump support) and the Southern United States (high opioid rates, low Trump support).

“When we look at the two maps, there was a clear overlap between counties that had high opioid use … and the vote for Donald Trump,” said Dr. James S. Goodwin, chair of geriatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the study’s lead author.

“It very well may be that if you’re in a county that is dissolving because of opioids, you’re looking around and you’re seeing ruin. That can lead to a sense of despair,” Goodwin said. “You want something different. You want radical change.”

The study suggests an association at the county level. And the overlap, Goodwin and other researchers said, could indicate that people who have been left behind in collapsing deindustrialized regions, may have a higher probability of supporting candidates promising light at the end of the tunnel.

Dr. Nancy E. Morden, associate professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, agrees. “People who reach for an opioid might also reach for … near-term fixes,” she said. “I think that Donald Trump’s campaign was a promise for near-term relief.”

“Trump tapped into something in that segment of voters,” said Katharine Neill Harris, a drug policy fellow at the Baker Institute, a nonpartisan think tank at Rice University in Houston.

“It’s about more than just prescriptions,” she said. “This is a very complex relationship, and representative of a deeper problem … of problems we are not addressing as a society.”

The study serves as an example highlighting the links between socioeconomic issues and voting patterns. With that being said, in periods of populist anger, the cause of that anger better be resolved in a timely fashion; otherwise, a backlash by the supporters could be seen. Let’s hope this does not happen, as a recession inches closer.


DownWithYogaPants Juggernaut x2 Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:16 Permalink

As always ass backwards thinking from our ruling elite.

Could it be those taking opiates are those put out of a job by globalism?

And then there is Jugger who never saw a dick he didn't want to suck but addiction to dick is not a problem right? Butt there is a correlation between voting democrat and fellating penis.  This we don't even need a study for.   See: San Francisco.

  • Useful people who build things when given no gainful employment fall into depression. Wow big surprise some percentage end up taking drugs to chemically entertain themselves.
  • Gay people tend to think irrationally and make bad political choices and vote for weird lefties.  My observation is they are full of drama.

These lefties. Always trying to pretend they are kind until it's someone who does not vote the way they think they should. Makes me think maybe they are not as kind as they tell me they are.

My take?  Whether you ingest opiates or suck dick it is none of my business.  If you're down on your luck I hope for better for you.  I won't go around playing the schadenfruede game for your sometimes bad choices.

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

Chris2 E.F. Mutton Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:21 Permalink

Its white flyover country. No jobs, No campus for white men, end whiteness, whites need not apply, kill whitey.

In your OWN country.

What do you think that does to people, what do you expect?

Trump was a ray of hope for them, he actually showed up and voiced their concerns.

Jesus Christ what is the disconnect here?

Case in point:

I saw the most disturbing video I stumbled across. White Cop disapproves of daughters boyfriend she is 18. He tracks her to friends house stops boyfriends car he looks black, maybe Somalia type, tells him to get out of car into his cop car. He does. Does not notice daughter in backseat she gets out and starts yelling at him, he grabs her orders guy out of car tries to push her into car she is screaming "you can't do this to me I am 18." Friends mother calls 911, he loses his job. Imagine being this father when you see your kid going down a disaster path, anyone with teens knows this and how it feels. The world is a horrible place now for kids.

In reply to by E.F. Mutton

ZD1 Four Star Mon, 06/25/2018 - 19:34 Permalink

"Its white flyover country."

Anyone who has been to any shithole sanctuary city controlled by Democrats on the left coast like SF, LA, Seattle, etc. knows that the opioid crisis is not just confined to flyover country.

A major factor in the huge increase of homeless in those cities is due to opiate addiction. 

In reply to by Four Star

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In reply to by ZD1

DownWithYogaPants Juggernaut x2 Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:29 Permalink

Again with the idiocy.  You only like taxes because you think you're going to get a slice of the cheese.  You would be taken more seriously if you were perceived to be a good person who really meant well.  But as always with lefties it's about your slice of the action.  You're not to be trusted.

There are a thousand more effective ways to put the banks / public corps into line without taxes. Taxes merely make them less competitive.

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

are we there yet Juggernaut x2 Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:52 Permalink

Be careful how you interpret non causal correlation between two variables to a hidden third variable. For example, a statistician found that there was a high correlation to Nobel prize winners and their countries per diem consumption of chocolate. Chocolate itself does not produce Nobel prize winners. However, countries with intelligent and hard working populations produce more money and well education bright people capable of scientific research, as well as enough money to afford luxury items like chocolate. If you ship a country such as Nigeria, unlimited free chocolate, it will not advance any branch of science in Nigeria, with the possible exception of diabetes research test subjects.

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

philosobilly DownWithYogaPants Mon, 06/25/2018 - 20:32 Permalink

id like to add to your setiment. it isn't the govts job to put businesses in line, it the consumers, full stop. there should be no national taxes except on imports and exports, as the founders intended, protectionism to fund the federal govt nothing more. businesses dont pay taxes they pass the cost on to their consumers. put the full onus of paying taxes on businesses, allow the market to price discoer everything, let supply and demand determine what survives. everything else is theft.

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

Truth_Hoits Juggernaut x2 Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:38 Permalink

Tyler and other idiots trying to tie in cause and effect to election.

Did it occur to anyone that these cities that voted left, that happen to be more metropolitan, iimplemented the opoid prescription standards that went into law before the slower to implement counties?

Doctors don't need the headache of what it takes to put out opiod scripts anymore. That's why SE FL looks yellow.

Go to CDC website go backwards in time on the charts. 

Tyler, using opiods since 2014?

Bring non opioid Tyler back.




In reply to by Juggernaut x2

philosobilly Juggernaut x2 Mon, 06/25/2018 - 20:27 Permalink

yeah cause us looking to our owners in dc for all the answers to all our problems couldn't have anything to do with it. the reality is poor people dont pay taxes, really if you make less than 40k a year its not hard to avoid federal income tax, its also not hard to write off everything, even made up shit. the irs doesn't care about you you cant get blood from a turnip. id like to add because of all those stock buy backs, my investments, blue collar red neck 3% here, have doubled my salary this year already. im getting a few thousand dollar bonus next week cause of trump and my company, and my union is writhing around trying to find a way to take dues out of it but they cant. white working class people need to learn more responsibility and how to make better, forward looking decisions.

In reply to by Juggernaut x2

vato poco DownWithYogaPants Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:22 Permalink

oh looook!! ZH is giving space to the converged leftwing scum at JAMA, who ran a study about opoid use/Trump support overlap. how droll of them! how edgy! how very very naughty those cheeky scamps are!!

now do more, assholes. begin with welfare queen/illiterates. food stamp folks/incest. black folks/likelihood of prison sentences. homos & lezzies/suicides. etc etc etc

oh, that's different? because racism??

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

AGuy DownWithYogaPants Mon, 06/25/2018 - 18:32 Permalink

"Could it be those taking opiates are those put out of a job by globalism?"

its not jobs, but obozocare. People that need operations and expensive medical procedures cannot afford them, so they take prescription pain killers. They wanted Obozocare repealed so they can get cost effective care.

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants