Opioid Crisis May Have Cost States $130 Billion in Treatment

Federal data shows opioid shipments ballooned as crisis grew
AP Photo/Patrick Sison

Recent studies performed by researchers at Penn State find that the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic may have cost states at least $130 billion in treatments.

“So we led a team of 20 researchers at Penn State in a series of studies that looked at the various ways state budgets have borne the burden of the opioid crisis. The result is the first comprehensive tally of state opioid costs,” the Daily Mail reports.

The authors of the comprehensive report say that overall, they estimate state Medicaid programs spent $72 billion due to opioid abuse between 1999 and 2013, according to the most recent and available data.

“Based on an estimate of Medicaid costs of $8.4 billion in 2013, we estimate states likely spent an additional $40 billion since then, bringing the total bill to at least $112 billion,” the report says.

A decline in employment is also a factor in opioid abuse, which in turn can “rob states of expected tax revenue.”

The report notes:

We estimate that states may have lost nearly $12 billion in tax revenue from 2000 to 2016 due to the effect of opioid misuse on individuals’ ability to work. Ongoing costs are about about $700 million a year, bringing an estimated total through 2018 to over $13 billion.

On July 17, Breitbart News reported that an analysis of federal data showed that drugmakers and distributors had dispensed 76 billion pills to commercial pharmacies over the past seven years.

“The data, released by an Ohio federal court as part of a case regarding opioids, showed that drug companies distributed 50 percent more opioid drugs between 2006 and 2012 when the nation’s opioid crisis began to accelerate,” the report states.

However, in 2018 President Trump took action to help end the opioid crisis by securing $6 billion in funding to fight opioid abuse. The administration also implemented the Safer Prescribing Plan that will “cut opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years,” according to the White House website.

In April while speaking at the Rx Drug and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, the president vowed to keep fighting to end the opioid epidemic in America.

“We will not let up, we will not give in and we will never ever give up on saving American lives,” he said. “We will end this terrible menace. We will smash the grip of addiction.”

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