The opioid crisis cost $1T+ since 2001, may cost additional $500B by 2020: 6 takeaways

The opioid crisis has cost the U.S. over $1 trillion since 2001, according to a report by nonprofit health research and consulting institute Altarum. The epidemic may exceed another $500 billion by 2020 if significant changes are not made.

Here are six takeaways:

1. The annual cost of the opioid crisis increased from $29.1 billion in 2001 to an estimated $115 billion in 2017. All cost estimates are in 2016 dollars.

2. The greatest cost comes from lost earnings and productivity from overdose deaths, estimated at $800,000 per person based on overdose victims' average age of 41. This estimate is largely made up of lost worker wages and productivity losses of employers, but it also weighs on government in the form of lost tax revenue.

3. The cost has increased in recent years as more younger people are dying of opioid overdoses and are transitioning away from prescription opioids to illicit drugs. In 2017, the estimated number of opioid overdose deaths is greater than 62,500 based on data through June.

4. Healthcare costs related to the opioid epidemic reached $215.7 billion from 2001 to 2017, largely because of emergency room visits to treat and stabilize overdose patients, ambulance and Naloxone use.

5. Medicaid has borne a large proportion of the healthcare costs. Since the 2014 Medicaid expansion, the number of uninsured patient overdoses has fallen, but the burden to states in additional healthcare costs has increased.

6. The growth in costs between 2011 and 2016 was double the rate of the previous five years and is expected to dramatically increase without significant and sustained national action. Congress is considering spending $6 billion over the next two years to address the epidemic, and President Donald Trump proposed $13 billion in new spending on opioids in his budget. This is partially offset by cuts to other healthcare programs like Medicaid, according to NPR.

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