Samia Islam, associate professor, gave a presentation, “Happiness and the American Workforce: Disappearing Jobs and the Opioid Crisis in Perspective,” at the Idaho Department of Labor’s statewide management team meeting on April 12.
The presentation was based on Islam’s ongoing research examining opioid addiction as a factor relating to the automation of jobs, the vanishing middle class and labor force participation within these hotspots of opioid usage and surrounding areas. Her hypothesis is that the job losses due to automation in manufacturing in these areas is a significant factor in opioids abuse. While focusing on the supply side of these drugs is important (especially when looking at federal drug regulations/de-regulations), it is also important to examine the social and economic factors that affect opioid addiction. Finally, this research will attempt to determine the relationship between opioids abuse and well-being, as data shows that the same areas affected by job automation and opioid addiction are also showing the highest levels of economic distress.