White House Reports Opioid Epidemic Cost U.S. Economy $504 Billion in 2015

The opioid crisis cost the U.S. economy as much as $504 billion in 2015, according to a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA).

That number represented 2.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product that year, according to Reuters. There were 33,000 opioid-related deaths in 2015, the study noted.

The cost of non-fatal opioid use totaled $72 billion for 2.4 million people with opioid addictions in 2015, the report found. These costs included medical treatment, criminal justice system expenses and the decreased economic productivity of people with an opioid addiction.

“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.”