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      Concentrated Burdens: How Self-Interest and Partisanship Shape Opinion on Opioid Treatment Policy

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          Abstract

          When does self-interest influence public opinion on contentious public policies? The bulk of theory in political science suggests that self-interest is only a minor force in public opinion. Using nationally representative survey data, we show how financial and spatial self-interest and partisanship all shape public opinion on opioid treatment policy. We find that a majority of respondents support a redistributive funding model for treatment programs, while treatment funded by taxation based on a community’s overdose rate is less popular. Moreover, financial self-interest cross-pressures lower-income Republicans, closing the partisan gap in support by more than half. We also experimentally test how the spatial burden of siting treatment clinics alters policy preferences. People across the political spectrum are less supportive when construction of a clinic is proposed closer to their home. These results highlight how partisanship and self-interest interact in shaping preferences on public policy with concentrated burdens.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Sociotropic Politics: The American Case

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            Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016

            Better understanding of the dynamics of the current U.S. overdose epidemic may aid in the development of more effective prevention and control strategies. We analyzed records of 599,255 deaths from 1979 through 2016 from the National Vital Statistics System in which accidental drug poisoning was identified as the main cause of death. By examining all available data on accidental poisoning deaths back to 1979 and showing that the overall 38-year curve is exponential, we provide evidence that the current wave of opioid overdose deaths (due to prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) may just be the latest manifestation of a more fundamental longer-term process. The 38+ year smooth exponential curve of total U.S. annual accidental drug poisoning deaths is a composite of multiple distinctive subepidemics of different drugs (primarily prescription opioids, heroin, methadone, synthetic opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine), each with its own specific demographic and geographic characteristics.
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              When Self-Interest Matters

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                American Political Science Review
                Am Polit Sci Rev
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0003-0554
                1537-5943
                November 2019
                July 25 2019
                November 2019
                : 113
                : 4
                : 1078-1084
                Article
                10.1017/S0003055419000443
                © 2019

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