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The economic cost of the opioid crisis

Opium has a harm. Opium is a poison, undermining our good customs and morality.So noted an Chinese imperial decree in 1810 in the build up to the opium wars of 1839-1842 . But the Chinese emperor’s concerns were not just social and moral. They were also economic. British and American merchants were shipping so much opium into China, the trade had begun to drain substantial amounts of silver out of China, turning Britain’s trade deficit with the continent into a surplus.America’s opioid epidemic — part illicit and part entirely legal — bears a not dissimilar economic cost. On Thursday, Goldman Sachs’s David Mericle, dug deeper into the ramifications of the opioid crisis for the American economy. But equally into whether a poor economy itself is the reason for the dramatic acceleration in

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Opium has a harm. Opium is a poison, undermining our...

Izabella Kaminska
Izabella Kaminska joined FT Alphaville in October 2008, which was, perhaps, the best time in the world to become a financial blogger. Before that she worked as a producer at CNBC, a natural gas reporter at Platts and an associate editor of BP’s internal magazine. She has also worked as a reporter on English language business papers in Poland and Azerbaijan and was a Reuters graduate trainee in 2004.

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