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A Crisis Ahead

The intersection of the opioid crisis and manufacturing is poised to be a drag on U.S. competitiveness

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the July-August 2018 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

July-August 2018

At Supply Chain Management Review, we’ve been writing about the talent crisis in our profession since at least 2012 when our MIT contributors were publishing a column on talent strategies. Last winter, the topic touched home when I picked up my local newspaper one Saturday morning. One of the lead stories was about two initiatives launched by C&S Wholesale Grocers with two local academic institutions: Keene State College and Franklin Pierce University.
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The United States is in the midst of its third drug crisis in the last 50 years. The statistics are bleak: In 2016, drug overdose deaths from opioids increased fivefold compared to 1999. Drugs are now more fatal than car accidents were at their peak in 1972, than guns at their peak in 1993 and AIDS at its peak in 1995. Drug overdoses also killed more people in 2016 than the total number of U.S. soldiers who died during the entire Vietnam War. But here is a sobering statistic particularly relevant to manufacturers and supply chain managers: Drugs are now the leading cause of death for prime working age Americans, those who might otherwise be manning our assembly lines, warehouses and logistics departments.

The culprit is the opioid crisis; two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription or illicit opioid. The economic and societal implications of this crisis are broad and deep. Altarum, a nonprofit health research and consulting institute, estimates the total cost to the country since 2001 atmore than $1 trillion. In 2015 alone, the United States spent 2.8% of its GDP on the opioid crisis, according to The White House Council of Economic advisers. It also leads to lost tax revenue because opioid users may not be working to their full earning potential—or working at all. There are also social costs: Opioid abuse puts pressure on the criminal justice system due to increased policing efforts, associated legal efforts and correctional facility costs. The Social Security Administration doesn’t grant disability for drug addiction, but misuse of pain medication can lengthen disability claims.

While statistics like those might be familiar to anyone who has followed the opioid crisis in the news, on the campaign trail or in their communities, lost in the discussion is the impact of the current drug crisis on the workforce and productivity in general and its threat to manufacturing.

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Sorry, but your login has failed. Please recheck your login information and resubmit. If your subscription has expired, renew here.

From the July-August 2018 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

July-August 2018

At Supply Chain Management Review, we’ve been writing about the talent crisis in our profession since at least 2012 when our MIT contributors were publishing a column on talent strategies. Last winter, the topic…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the July-August 2018 issue.

The United States is in the midst of its third drug crisis in the last 50 years. The statistics are bleak: In 2016, drug overdose deaths from opioids increased fivefold compared to 1999. Drugs are now more fatal than car accidents were at their peak in 1972, than guns at their peak in 1993 and AIDS at its peak in 1995. Drug overdoses also killed more people in 2016 than the total number of U.S. soldiers who died during the entire Vietnam War. But here is a sobering statistic particularly relevant to manufacturers and supply chain managers: Drugs are now the leading cause of death for prime working age Americans, those who might otherwise be manning our assembly lines, warehouses and logistics departments.

The culprit is the opioid crisis; two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription or illicit opioid. The economic and societal implications of this crisis are broad and deep. Altarum, a nonprofit health research and consulting institute, estimates the total cost to the country since 2001 atmore than $1 trillion. In 2015 alone, the United States spent 2.8% of its GDP on the opioid crisis, according to The White House Council of Economic advisers. It also leads to lost tax revenue because opioid users may not be working to their full earning potential—or working at all. There are also social costs: Opioid abuse puts pressure on the criminal justice system due to increased policing efforts, associated legal efforts and correctional facility costs. The Social Security Administration doesn't grant disability for drug addiction, but misuse of pain medication can lengthen disability claims.

While statistics like those might be familiar to anyone who has followed the opioid crisis in the news, on the campaign trail or in their communities, lost in the discussion is the impact of the current drug crisis on the workforce and productivity in general and its threat to manufacturing.

SC
MR

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