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When you look at middle-class manufacturing jobs. many do not even require a high school diploma but pay $15 to $25 an hour and offer full benefits. So why aren’t they being filled? As Nelson Schwartz indicates in this article, the problem is that too many applicants — nearly half, in some cases — fail a drug test.
1. What are policy makers doing to address the underlying problem of underfilled jobs?
2. What does a federal study estimate that prescription opioid abuse cost the economy in 2013?
3. Besides unfilled jobs, what are some of the direct and indirect costs of the opioid epidemic to companies?

Schwartz, N. (2017). Economy Needs Workers, but Drug Tests Take a Toll. The New York Times, July 24 (Retrievable online at