U.S. Opioid Crisis Costs More than $500bn

The cost of the opioid epidemic was about $504 billion in 2015, approximately six times higher than other studies from previous years, newly released analysis from the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) shows, The Hill reports.

The opioid crisis has led to a significant uptick in overdose deaths since 1999 and, most recently, was declared a national public health emergency by President Donald Trump. According to the CEA, the report will contribute towards “assessing the benefits of fiscal and regulatory policies that limit opioid abuse in the United States, which is important to understand the costs associated with the epidemic that policies might mitigate.”

In 2015, there were more than 33,000 reported opioid-involved overdose deaths, but because fatalities are underreported, CEA pegged the number closer to about 41,000 deaths, The Hill adds.

Because of the underreporting of fatalities, the crisis has gotten worse and it accounted for the value of lives lost utilizing a method federal agencies typically use. Additionally, it’s because previous studies only took into account the cost of prescription painkillers, but CEA’s analysis also included illicit opioids, like heroin, The Hill notes. This is the council’s first report on the opioid crisis, and it plans to issue more.

Trump’s commission to address the opioid epidemic recently issued its final report, which called for more drug courts and a national media blitz, among more than 50 other recommendations, The Hill writes.

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