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Addressing the Opioid Epidemic: Is There a Role for Physician Education?

Molly Schnell and Janet Currie
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Molly Schnell: Princeton University
Janet Currie: Princeton University and NBER. Author email:

American Journal of Health Economics, 2018, vol. 4, issue 3, 383-410

Abstract: Using national data on opioid prescriptions written by physicians from 2006 to 2014, we uncover a striking relationship between opioid prescribing and medical school rank. Even within the same specialty and practice location, physicians who completed their initial training at top medical schools write significantly fewer opioid prescriptions annually than physicians from lower-ranked schools. Additional evidence suggests that some of this gradient represents a causal effect of education rather than patient selection across physicians or physician selection across medical schools. Altering physician education may therefore be a useful policy tool in fighting the current epidemic.

Keywords: opioid; prescribing; medical school rank; general practitioner (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:ucp:amjhec:v:4:y:2018:i:3:p:383-410