This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

A number of reasons have been given to explain the unexpected and meteoric rise of Donald Trump to the presidency, from Russian interference to economic instability and fear of loss of social status of America’s majority.

Another demographic added to the list is the role of long-term opioid use, with researchers finding an association between support for the Republican candidate in counties with high rates of opioid use.

“Support for the Republican candidate in the 2016 election is a marker for physical conditions, economic circumstances, and cultural forces associated with opioid use,” researchers from the University of Texas Galveston and University of Toronto wrote in a research article published Friday.

“The commonly used socioeconomic indicators do not totally capture all of those forces.”

An estimated 2.5 million people in the U.S. have an addiction to opioids and the researchers sought to understand how these circumstances influence political choices.

“The association of the presidential vote with chronic opioid use underscores the importance of cultural, economic, and environmental factors associated with the opioid epidemic,” they wrote in the study[1] that appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Of the 693 counties where opioid prescriptions were significantly higher than the average county rate, an estimated 59.96 percent of people voted for the Republican candidate, compared to 38.67 percent in counties that had low rates of opioid prescriptions.

Researchers compared voting data by county with claims from nearly four million Medicare Part D enrollees to get their results....

The counties with the highest rates of long-term opioid prescribing were concentrated in the South and Appalachian areas, Michigan and some western states, the authors wrote.

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