Costs of the Opioid Crisis Pass $1 Trillion

spilled bottle of pills over the american flag

In October, President Donald Trump signed a new bill to address the country’s growing opioid crisis. The new bill comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that close to 70,000 people died from overdoses last year, a 10% increase from 2016. In fact, the increase in opioid-related deaths is more than all U.S. military deaths that occurred during the 15 years of the Vietnam War.

Rural areas of the United States have particularly been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. According to a poll from NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one out of four Americans who live in rural parts of the country cites drug addiction and drug abuse as a top issue that affects their communities. One co-director of the poll said, “This has never been reported before.”

Analysis conducted by Altarum, a health care research nonprofit, revealed that opioid addiction cost American families $115 billion in 2017. Opioid addiction costs include:

  • Emergency room care
  • Long-term drug addiction treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Child care for parents struggling with addiction

Altarum calculated that direct costs of the opioid crisis have exceeded $1 trillion since 2001. Corey Rhyan, a senior analyst at Altarum, said, “I would argue that's a conservative estimate. Obviously, any dollar value needs to be viewed alongside the enormous and unthinkable human costs of the epidemic."

How the Opioid Crisis Impacts the Labor Force

The opioid crisis has also had a major effect on unemployment rates and economic growth. A recent report from The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) shows that workers between the age of 25 and 54 are looking for work at significantly lower rates than “prime-age workers” in other developed countries.

Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said, “The biggest structural change in the U.S. in the last few years is this astonishing increase in opioid addiction. People talk about a mismatch in supply and demand -- that we want more construction workers but we haven't got them, or we need people in the Midwest and have unemployed people in the Southeast. But those are not big enough.”

However, some government officials are claiming that the opioid epidemic is calming down. Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, said: “We are so far from the end of the epidemic, but we are perhaps, at the end of the beginning.”

New figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that overdose deaths have leveled off for the last three months, which means the epidemic could be peaking. According to Quest Diagnostics, the largest workforce drug-testing lab, the number of drug tests that were positive for opioids reached their highest in 2011, which suggests that opioid addiction among unemployed Americans is dropping.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

At Decision Point Center, our team of compassionate professionals understands the factors that play into the development of opioid addiction disorders, and we know what it takes to help you maintain your health and sobriety. Our team is committed to working with people who want to overcome their opioid addiction, which is why we would like you to visit our rehab center in Prescott for help. All of our treatment options are tailored to your unique needs, and we are here to support and encourage you throughout your recovery journey.

Call (844) 292-5010 or complete an online form to find out more about our opioid rehabilitation treatments in Northern Arizona.

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