Opioid overdose deaths spike after auto plant closures, researchers say

UNIVERSITY CITY (WPVI) -- A new study shows how the closing of a manufacturing plant doesn't just impact the economy of a community, but also its health.

The closure of auto assembly plants in recent years has been a serious blow to many American communities.

Now, University of Pennsylvania researchers have found a striking ripple effect of those closings: a spike in opioid overdose deaths.

Five years after the closures, there was an 85 percent surge in opioid deaths among working-age adults in counties around the plants.

When the plants close, economic opportunities in the area dry up, sparking other factors, such as worsening mental health, loss of access to health care, and lack of activities for adults.

Researchers say rising drug use probably isn't unique to auto plant closures, but research is needed for other factories.
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