Report Finds Total Cost of Opioid Epidemic Reaches $179 Billion Annually

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The total cost of the opioid epidemic is $179 billion per year in the United States, according to a new report by the Society of Actuaries.

The group took into account costs by governments providing taxpayer-funded services—about one-third of the cost—in addition to costs borne by individuals, families, employers, private insurers and others.

The largest portion of the total cost is $72.6 billion for overdose deaths, which includes lost earning potential for people who die of overdoses, NPR reports.

Health care costs account for $60.4 billion. This includes the overall health care costs of people addicted to opioids, not just costs related to addiction. The health care amount also includes costs for babies born dependent on opioids.

Lost productivity costs $26.5 billion, the report found. Criminal justice expenses amount to $10.9 billion, including costs related to police, court cases, correctional facilities and property lost to crime. Finally, costs related to child and family assistance and education total $9 billion.

Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action

Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times between 2010 and 2017, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are seeing a sharp rise as well.


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