The previous estimates of the economic cost related to the opioid crisis were understated, a new White House report reveals. According to the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), an agency within the Executive Office of the President, the economic cost of the opioid addiction problem was $504 billion in 2015, amounting to 2.8 percent of America’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the year. The amount was over six-fold higher than the previous annual estimate of $78.5 billion in 2013, the council said. The CEA enlists several reasons for recording higher cost estimates than the previous calculations.
First and most importantly, the council’s calculation is based on the conventional methods commonly used by federal agencies in cost-benefit analysis for health-related interventions. Secondly, the CEA takes account of the worsening opioid crisis, especially in terms of overdose deaths, which has increased twofold in the past 10 years. Thirdly, while previous estimates were based exclusively on prescription opioids, the CEA also considers illicit opioids like heroin. “The crisis has worsened in recent years, with an increasing role played by heroin abuse, and evidence suggests that fatality statistics understate the number of opioid-related deaths,” the council noted.
Furthermore, the CEA considers the cost of nonfatal opioid usage, reporting an expense of $72 billion for 2.4 million people with opioid addiction in 2015. Those costs comprise expenses on medical treatment and criminal justice, along with the decreased economic productivity of people battling addiction. The CEA report also refers to the growing menace of opioids in the country. Over 50,000 Americans succumbed to drug overdoses in 2015. Of them, 33,091 died due to opioid overdose. The findings suggest a twofold and fourfold increase in the opioid-related overdose deaths in the past 10 and 16 years, respectively. You Might Also LikeDoes Smoking Weed Make You More Creative?California Is on Fire LiterallyTrump to Send Americans to the MoonWhat Is Net Neutrality and Why Are People Freaking Out?Sponsored Content?
Learn More According to the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) were responsible for a significantly high number of overdose deaths. CPDs even had more users than methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and phencyclidine (PCP) combined. The report also cited heroin use as a greater risk for public health, which alone or in combination with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids contributed to increased number of overdose deaths. Significantly, overdose deaths related to opioid pain relievers and heroin grew by a whopping 200 percent since 2000. Responding to the opioid crisis, the Trump administration has taken some drastic measures in the recent months that include declaring the epidemic a public health emergency. While Republicans see it as a significant strategy to combat the opioid menace in the country, critics, including Democrats, refer to the move as ineffective in the absence of additional funding. Prevention of opioid-related problems More than 4 percent people aged 12 or older, amounting to 11.8 million in the U.S. misused opioids in the past year, reveals the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Around 62 percent users took opioids for relieving physical pain, while 13 percent misused them to feel good or get high.
Around 10.8 percent people quoted to have misused opioids to relax or relieve tension. Surprisingly, 53 percent opioid misusers in 2016 got their last dose of painkillers from a friend or relative, while 35.4 percent procured them the last time through a prescription from one doctor. Blocking this easy channel of opioid availability can help control and/or prevent its misuse. Therefore, it is important to make people aware of safe disposal and storage methods to prevent opioid diversion. For those who are already hooked on it, professional treatment can help.