US: Massive Costs of the US Opioid Epidemic in Lives and Dollars

News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The estimated economic costs of the US opioid epidemic topped $1 trillion in 2017, with hard-hit states in the Ohio Valley and the Northeast bearing the highest per capita burdens, according to a pair of CDC analyses.

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A staggering loss of life has resulted from the ongoing epidemic: nearly 500 000 people have died from opioid overdoses during the past 20 years. Because many die prematurely, their surviving family members and communities lose out on benefits from an individual’s lifetime earnings. Opioid use disorder also results in costs associated with added health care expenses, criminal justice, lost productivity, and reduced quality of life. In 2017, these costs totaled an estimated $1.02 trillion—54% was attributed to overdose deaths and 46% to opioid use disorder, according to one analysis.

The burden wasn’t equally distributed across states. Ohio incurred the highest total costs at $72.6 billion and Wyoming the least at $985 million, a second analysis of 38 states and the District of Columbia showed. States with the highest cost per resident were concentrated in the Ohio Valley and the Northeast. West Virginia had the highest per capita costs at $7247 per resident, Ohio was next at $6226, followed by New Hampshire at $5953. Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Maine followed close behind with costs topping $5000 per person.

In addition to treatment with Food and Drug Administration–approved medications, the authors noted that pain clinic laws, prescription drug monitoring programs, naloxone distribution, and overdose education can reduce overdose deaths and excess opioid prescribing.

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Tags: Opioid Epidemic Overdose Statistics" >Opioid Use Disorder
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