Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Opioid epidemic cost U.S. half a trillion in 2015, six times more than in 2013, White House council says

White House Council of Economic Advisers chart
The opioid epidemic cost the American economy more than $504 billion in 2015, according to a new analysis from the White House Council of Economic Advisers. That's almost 3 percent of the nation's gross domestic product that year, and is more than six times higher than the $80 billion estimated for 2013. The latest analysis includes the impact of heroin, which previous studies didn't include.

The council identifies a few other reasons for the increased cost: the epidemic has grown more severe, and "Previous studies underestimated the economic cost of the loss of life from this epidemic, and second, those previous estimates did not account for the under-reporting of opioid deaths," Quinn Lisbon reports for Route Fifty.

President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency in October, but did not allocate any additional funding to the effort. The declaration gives agencies more flexibility in dealing with the epidemic and allows the government to negotiate lower prices for first-response overdose drug naloxone (sold under the brand name Narcan).

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