The Opioid Crisis and Educational Performance

Rajeev Darolia, Sam Owens, John Tyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We propose a simple model of how opioids in a community can impact the educational outcomes of children based on both the extent of exposure to opioids in the community and on the child’s vulnerability to any given level of exposure. We then use national data to document where and how the opioid crisis has intersected with students’ performance on standardized test scores in the U.S., focusing particularly on rural communities. Finally, we estimate the extent to which variation in one measure of the opioid crisis, drug-related mortality, is related to variation in test scores. We find strong relationships between the two, as well as evidence that the relationship is particularly salient for third-grade students in rural communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-233
Number of pages46
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by The American Academy of Political and Social Science.


  • at-risk students
  • children’s vulnerability
  • educational performance
  • opioids
  • rural schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (all)


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