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How Opioid Addiction Impacts the Economy

by Nick

Most people are aware of opioid addiction’s impact on a personal level. However, the cost of opioid addiction goes beyond those grappling with the disease. Its impact can be felt, in part, by everyone. That’s because the opioid epidemic has far-reaching consequences, even having an adverse effect on the nation’s economy.

The danger of opioids is evident through the economic fallout from heroin and prescription painkiller abuse. The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimates that this crisis has cost the U.S. $2.5 trillion over four years from 2015 to 2018. By the end of 2020, that number is expected to rise by another $500 billion.

Understanding the economic variables associated with the opioid epidemic is crucial to finding better interventions to combat this crisis.

What Factors Influence the Impact of Opioid Addiction on the Economy?

When it comes to opioid addiction, it’s difficult to weigh its impact in dollars and cents. However, the trillions spent shows that the opioid crisis is having a nationwide impact on America’s economy.

You may be wondering how the CEA calculated this number. There are a variety of factors to consider when weighing the opioid epidemic’s effect on our economy, including:

  • Reductions in productivity due to absenteeism and reduced labor force participation
  • Disability and workers’ compensation claims
  • Lost jobs
  • Lost quality of life
  • Increases in health care
  • Substance abuse treatment costs
  • Criminal justice and incarceration costs
  • The value of those who have lost their lives due to opioid addiction

Solutions for Countering the Opioid Crisis

Governments, businesses and independent community organizations are playing a role in finding a solution to our nation’s opioid crisis. Although we have yet to discover a single solution, there are many factors being considered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help treat and prevent opioid addiction, including:

  • Improved access to opioid addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services
  • Responsible prescribing practices and better pain management techniques
  • Identifying those whose health conditions or socioeconomic circumstances place them at risk
  • Targeting and distributing overdose-reversing drugs
  • Better data collection and research

One of the leading clinical intervention methods is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This approach involves the use of drugs like methadone and buprenorphine to help patients manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. For example, MAT is widely credited with dramatically reducing France’s opioid fatality rate over the past two decades.

How to Seek Professional Treatment for Opioid Addiction

While the economic impact of opioid addiction may seem staggering, the solution must happen in small steps. Each time a person struggling with opioid addiction gets the help they need, their recovery serves as a source of hope and encouragement to others.

At Health Care Resource Centers, we offer medication-assisted treatment supported by professional substance abuse counseling. Our comprehensive treatment plans address physical dependency on opioids as well as the mental and emotional effects addiction has on a patient’s life.

Contact HCRC today to learn how MAT can help you. You can also give us a call at 866-758-7769 to learn more.

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