Economic Cost of Opioids Topped $1 Trillion From 2001-2017

By on February 13, 2018

From Altaram: The cost of the country’s opioid crisis is estimated to have exceeded $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017, and is projected to cost an additional $500 billion by 2020, according to analysis released today by Altarum, a nonprofit health research and consulting institute. Click here to download a PDF summary.

The annual cost of the opioid crisis increased from $29.1 billion in 2001 to an estimated $115 billion in 2017 (all cost estimates are shown in 2016 dollars). The growth rate between 2011 and 2016 was double the rate observed between the previous 5 years, and is projected to increase again in 2017. Based on these data, Altarum estimates the cost of opioid misuse, substance use disorders, and premature mortality to exceed $500 billion over the next 3 years if concerted and sustained action to address the crisis is not taken and current use and mortality rates persist.

Who is Bearing the Cost?

The costs of the opioid crisis are borne by individuals in the form of lost wages; the private sector in lost productivity and health care costs; and federal, state and local governments in lost tax revenue and additional spending on health care, social services, education and criminal justice.

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