Opioid Crisis Emerges As Top Campaign Theme For Midterms 

The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug overdose crisis in US history - on track to kill more people over the next ten years than currently live in entire cities like Baltimore or Miami. More people died last year from drug overdoses than American soldiers during the Vietnam War. In recent times, the opioid crisis has become an issue that the country can no longer ignore. 

According to television advertising data from Kantar Media/CMAG, it is not President Trump's "greatest economy ever" on the minds of voters this midterm election season; it is the opioid crisis devastating communities across the heartland. 

So far in 2018, anti-opioid ads on television have aired in congressional and gubernatorial races more than 50,000 times across 25 states, said The Wall Street Journal. At this point in 2014, Kentucky was the only state with political ads mentioning opioids that aired only 70 times. In other words, political ads against opioids have skyrocketed roughly 714 times when compared to this time in the 2014 midterm election cycle. 

"Ads discussing the drugs make up only 3% of total TV advertisements, lagging behind immigration and gun control. The analysis shows how ads have begun to mimic the spread of the crisis, as candidates from both parties have pushed out anti-opioid ads at an accelerated clip.

The ads’ messages include promising more funds for treatment and stopping the inflow of opioids from elsewhere, among other things.

The jump in ads lifts the opioid issue from near obscurity to a potent, nationwide political topic. The map of ad purchases shows the role the issue is playing in states with closely contested U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races such as Florida, Missouri, Wisconsin and West Virginia. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, House candidates have aired thousands of ad," said the Journal. 

Kantar Media/CMAG says the ad numbers do not sufficiently correspond to the map of overdoses. For instance, Florida is running a tremendous amount of ads but has a lower amount of overdoses than many states. States including Wisconsin, Missouri, and Pennsylvania have run thousands of ads but are not the most affected. 

The Journal asks the difficult question: What accounts for the heavy play in those regions?

Well, the total amount of overdose deaths are shocking. Each of those states has had a 50 percent jump in opioid overdose deaths between 2012 and 2016. Kantar Media/CMAG shows the states that are running the most ads broken down by political affiliation.

While President Trump continues to tout the stock market hitting record highs, most Americans do not own stocks and are starting to look beyond the propaganda that everything is awesome. They are also catching a disturbing whiff of a decaying empire that one of the top campaign themes for this fall's midterm elections is the "greatest economy ever" opioid crisis. 

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Over the summer, 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.

(A) 2015 Long-term opioid use by county

(B) 2016 Percentage Trump vote by county