Allegheny to Host Panel of Experts Discussing the Economic Impact of the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis has hit Pennsylvania hard.

Fatal overdoses rose 37 percent across the state between 2015 and 2016 and are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, health statistics from Pennsylvania and other states show. Death rates have been particularly high in counties in Western Pennsylvania. Beaver, Allegheny, Washington, Butler, Crawford and Erie counties had death rates in 2016 that placed them in the top one-third of counties in the state.

The increased use of heroin and other opioids raises questions about how this crisis is affecting business and the economy.

Allegheny College’s 17th Executive Roundtable at 4 p.m. Monday, April 9, in Ford Memorial Chapel, will examine “The Opioid Crisis, Business and the Economy” and will bring together executives and government and health professionals to discuss the implications of the crisis on American society. The event is hosted by the college’s Center for Business and Economics and Law & Policy Program. It is free and open to the public.

Clockwise from upper left: Panelists Denise Johnson, Dionissi Aliprantis, Mike Kelly and Elisabeth Smith.

The panel of experts will include: Dionissi Aliprantis, senior research economist at the Federal Reserve of Cleveland; Denise Johnson, chief medical officer at the Meadville Medical Center; Republican Congressman Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania’s 3rd District, and Elisabeth Smith, president and chief executive officer of Acutec Precision Aerospace. Zachary Callen, Allegheny professor of political science, will serve as panel moderator.

The roundtable’s expert panelists from the world of economics, medicine and politics will discuss the implications of the opioid crisis and the economic challenges that confront all facets of society from families to businesses to health-care teams.

“In November 2017 the Council of Economic Advisors published a study that estimated the cost of the opioid crisis in 2015 alone was $500 billion nationwide,” said Tomas Nonnenmacher, professor of economics and co-director of Allegheny’s Center for Business and Economics. “This is a staggering loss, mostly due to over 33,000 opioid-involved deaths of mostly working-age individuals. In the roundtable discussion, we will hear from an economist, a health professional, an employer and a member of Congress who are studying how the opioid crisis affects individuals, business and the economy and how policies and partnerships might help individuals, businesses and health-care professionals to best respond.”

The Executive Roundtable is supported by the Earl W. Adams Jr. Endowment, established by Allegheny College Trustee William H. Brown Jr., Allegheny class of 1980, in honor of Professor Earl William Adams Jr. — teacher, mentor and friend. For more information on the roundtable, contact