Opioid-Related Deaths Drained $500 Billion From The US Economy In 2015

The national opioid epidemic is even larger drain on the US economy than previously believed, according to a new analysis from the White House Council of Economic Advisers. The cost of opioid-related deaths in 2015 was $504 billion, according to the CEA – a figure equivalent to 2.8% of that year’s gross domestic product.

CEA said the report, which was obtained by the Hill ahead of its release on Monday, was needed because “in assessing the benefits of fiscal and regulatory policies that limit opioid abuse in the United States, it is important to understand the costs associated with the epidemic that policies might mitigate.”

In calculating the net cost, the CEA posited that the official statistics gathered by the federal government underestimate the number of opioid-related deaths.

According to the official count, there were more than 33,000 reported opioid-involved overdose deaths in 2015, but because fatalities are underreported, CEA pegged the number closer to about 41,000 deaths.

Because of this adjustment, the CEA’s cost estimate is much larger than previous estimates. To arrive at the total cost associated with the 41,000 figure, the CEA used a formal typically employed by federal agencies to determine the value of lives lost. Another reason why estimates were much lower in the past is because previous studies only took into account the cost of prescription painkillers, while the CEA’s analysis also included illicit opioids, like heroin.

The report is the CEA’s first about the impact of opioids. But it told the Hill that it plans to issue more.

Reuters, which also received a copy of the report, pointed out that the report also looked at the cost of non-fatal opioid usage, estimating the total economic costs associated with the 2.4 million opioid addicts in America at $72 billion in 2015. Those costs included medical treatment, criminal justice system expenses and the decreased economic productivity of addicts.

“The crisis has worsened, especially in terms of overdose deaths which have doubled in the past ten years,” the CEA said. “While previous studies have focused exclusively on prescription opioids, we consider illicit opioids including heroin as well.”

The epidemic of opioid use that’s emerged over the past decade has grown into the most visible public-health crisis in the US. Opioid abuse became one of President Trump’s favorite talking points during the campaign. At one point, the president claimed that heroin circulating in New Hampshire had become “cheaper than candy bars.” A commission created by one of Trump’s executive orders recently issued its final report, which called for more drug courts and a national media blitz. However, the president stopped short of declaring the crisis a national emergency – instead labeling it a public health emergency – depriving federal agencies of disaster funds.

Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, have called for more federal funding to create treatment and diversion programs. More than 100 Americans die daily from related overdoses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, opioid abuse, especially among young, white men, has been blamed for other economic ills, like a decline in the workforce participation rate of young, working-age men. Opioid-related deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, largely due to the introduction of owerful opioid analogues like fentanyl into the US heroin supply. These fully-synthetic chemicals are believed to be up to 100x more powerful than morphine, greatly increasing the likelihood of overdose.

In 2016, more than 60,000 Americans died after overdosing on drugs, with opioids accounting for the largest share of drug-related deaths.

This year, that number is expected to climb to a new record high.


AGuy IH8OBAMA Mon, 11/20/2017 - 17:45 Permalink

"Can't these addicts die at home so it doesn't cost the taxpayer so much?"

Most do. the $500B figure is if all those addicts were fully employed contributing about $500B in GDP, not the costs to the taxpayer. That said the figure is a farce. Either the Addict was self-medicating to treat depression, unable to find a job, or they had a serious injury, and the only way they could function is on pain killers (ie some one with back,neck,hip,leg injuries). People don't start taking Opiods for fun. They do it when they have severe pain: Physical or mental.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

Manthong knukles Mon, 11/20/2017 - 14:54 Permalink

/* Style Definitions */
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  Awshit… I do not think I did my part in this effort. Well, the Sun will come up tomorrow.

In reply to by knukles

Paul Kersey Manthong Mon, 11/20/2017 - 15:00 Permalink

Many of these folks were murdered by Big Pharma and the pushers in lab coats. But no one in power will stop these criminals, let alone put them in prison. Here's why:

"Pharmaceutical companies spend far more than any other industry to influence politicians. Drugmakers have poured close to $2.5bn into lobbying and funding members of Congress over the past decade.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone to McConnell – although he is hardly alone. Nine out of 10 members of the House of Representatives and all but three of the US’s 100 senators have taken campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies."

In reply to by Manthong

Kidbuck FORD_FIESTA Mon, 11/20/2017 - 17:41 Permalink

You'd change your tune if you ever needed and tried these drugs. The rush is as powerful as a love affair with a beautiful woman. Such a warm feeling envelopes one that freewill can easily be dismissed. When I get a little older and more feeble, and if I out live my present wife, it wouldn't be a bad last trip to take.

In reply to by FORD_FIESTA

GUS100CORRINA Paul Kersey Mon, 11/20/2017 - 15:07 Permalink

Opioid-Related Deaths Drained $500 Billion From The US Economy In 2015My response: WOW .... this is a really BIG NUMBER.More "OBOZO" administration ROTTEN FRUIT. This guy should have his pension and government benefits CUT OFF!!The greek word for DRUG is "Pharmakeia"Pharmakeia - Drugs and demons Pt.1 (https://youtu.be/aXNW1MtqeF0)Pharmakeia - Drugs and demons Pt.2 (https://youtu.be/WYG19nwBIDY)

In reply to by Paul Kersey

Conax Mon, 11/20/2017 - 14:50 Permalink

Here in Ohio there has been much talk of the expense and difficulty in acquiring execution drugs for our murdering trash on death row.Seems like about three fitty worth of this garbage would do the trick.Cheaper than a candy bar, right?

TruthHunter lasvegaspersona Mon, 11/20/2017 - 18:30 Permalink

induce euphoria.... Or actually relieve pain. After surgery, I came to realize that myphysician's options, hence mine were quite constrained.  IMHO, too many people who have never been in pain aresetting policy. For every idiot who loses their game of roulette with euphoria, there are a probably 10 sufferers whose pain is poorly managed. DEA meddling in medicine does them a great disservice. It's not a black and white issue either. Many sufferers alsoslip into abuse. 

In reply to by lasvegaspersona

herefortheshow17 lasvegaspersona Mon, 11/20/2017 - 18:49 Permalink

Lyrica is poison. My gf has MS and the Doc put her on that garbage and she ended up having panic attacks from it. Very first panic attacks ever in here life! That shit is pure fucking poison!! She used to get those 10mg hydrocodones and could actually get up and be productive without being in terrible pain every time she moves. Not no more thanks to the nanny state!

In reply to by lasvegaspersona

Philanthropocalypse lasvegaspersona Mon, 11/20/2017 - 18:31 Permalink

I'm on an opiod and Lyrica, right now. HAve been for months. Treating combination of "frozen shoulder" and neuropathy in the arms.  Damn straight lyrica works. Keeps nerve pain at bay. (Tried gabapentin first, and it did not work. Was told they are "stereo-isomers" of one another.  Lyrica sure costs A LOT more).Long action opiod (30mg/12 hour) is much better, and safer. I don't get high on it, and I was getting high on 10 mg hydrocodone, and I needed 6 a day, to control pain. Not a good high, at least for me. I'd take cannabis, for that purpose, over any other "recreational" chemical (anodyne...).I do believe this "crisis" is manufactured, with intent, by Pharma, and by Big Gov.  And I believe is serves multiple purposes in multiple agendas, personal or corporate profit being the least important benefits. I believe this "crisis" is about social control, and is an "action objective" of a CO-INTEL PRO operation, the same one which has turned ZH forum threads into cesspools of bigotry and worthless reading.  We have some of the most cogent and insightful commentors, on these boards, and yet sh!theads and racists come here to post one-line dipsh!t ideas and bravado? Bull. It started in earnest, in 2015. The top 10-20 comments, on important articles, are always a mix of pertinent details from the articles, and mindless, bigoted crap, which negates any hope of mentioning ZH in the mainstream. This site, and it's commentors, are tarred with the brush of other peoples' hate and bile.Am I wrong?  Am I misreading the situation here on the 'hedge?

In reply to by lasvegaspersona

Is-Be Philanthropocalypse Mon, 11/20/2017 - 20:55 Permalink

"Bigot" and "Racist" set off my bullshit detector.They are abused by virtue signalling, morally superior, sanctimonious dross.One is a bigot if one cannot see the opposing point of view.(guilty at times)And the little Bolshevik, mass murdering runt, Trotsky, told us that racism is evil because it stood in the way of Communists glorious destiny to Rule The World. Why people trot anti-racism out as a virtue is way beyond my ken.If it were a sin, Jesus would have said so.

In reply to by Philanthropocalypse