Friday, 21 Sep 2018

You are here

Opioid Crisis Costs US $500 Billion

Reuters reports that the opioid crisis has cost the United States as much as $504 billion in 2015,  based on a White House economists report released this week. The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said the toll from the opioid crisis represented 2.8% of gross domestic product that year.

Using a combination of statistical models, the CEA said the lost economic output stemming from 33,000 opioid-related deaths in 2015 could be between $221 billion and $431 billion, depending on the methodology used.

In addition, the report looked at the cost of non-fatal opioid usage, estimating a total of $72 billion for 2.4 million people with opioid addictions in 2015. Those costs included medical treatment, criminal justice system expenses and the decreased economic productivity of addicts.

The CEA said its estimate was larger than those of some prior studies because it took a broad look at the value of lives lost to overdoses. The CEA also said its methodology incorporated an adjustment to reflect the fact that opioids were underreported on death certificates.

Opioids, primarily prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl, are fueling the drug overdoses. More than 100 Americans die daily from related overdoses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This report could be used by the White House to urge Republicans in Congress - who historically have opposed increasing government spending - to provide more funding for fighting the opioid crisis.

 

Disclosures: 
The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

Add new comment

More Like This

FDA's Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) Finalized

In response to the growing opioid crisis, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the final Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), designed to reduce the risk of abuse, misuse, addiction, overdose, and deaths due to prescription opioid analgesics.

Lower Income Elderly are More Likely to Use Opioids

The Journal of Gerontology reports that the poorest of the elderly are the most likely to receive prescription opioids.

Unsafe Practices with Ambien Use

Ambien (zolpidem) is the most widely used prescription hypnotic sedative since its introduction in 1992 and is currently the fourth most frequently prescribed psychiatric drug (2013). Recent US Food and Drug Administration Drug Safety Communications suggest limitations on use to reduce adverse effects. A study of the Medical Expenditures Survey in 2015 revealed that over 3.8 million adults reported using one or more prescriptions for zolpidem.

Weight Loss Lessens Knee Pain in Obese

Obese knee osteoarthritis (OA) patients who lose > 20% of their weight were in significantly less pain, had better function and improved quality of life. 

Blacks Suffer When Pain is Poorly Defined

Racial discrimination was a key feature at a 2-day summit on pain management and the opioid crisis, hosted by the National Institutes of Health on Thursday and Friday.

Asheley Cockrell Skinner, PhD, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina, provided a broad overview of racial bias in opioid prescribing.