Opioid epidemic costs U.S. $78.5 billion annuallyStaff Writer | September 21, 2016
Abuse of powerful prescription painkillers called opioids costs the U.S. economy $78.5 billion a year, according to a government study.
Cost of health Up dramatically from 2007
Nearly 25 percent of the economic burden was shouldered by public sources. They included Medicaid, Medicare and other public insurance as well as government-funded treatment programs.
State and local governments shouldered most of the $7.7 billion in criminal justice-related costs. They also lost tax revenue because productivity slipped, the study showed.
The researchers reported that nearly 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opioids in 2013.
That same year, 16,000 people died of opioid overdoses - up dramatically from 2007, the most recent year for which detailed estimates were available. Fatal overdoses cost the economy $21.5 billion, the study showed. ■