The opioid epidemic has hit West Virginia, Washington D.C., and New Hampshire the hardest in terms of costs per capita, according to a new analysis released Tuesday by the American Enterprise Institute.
The new study breaks down costs identified by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, which estimated the opioid epidemic cost the country $504 billion in 2015 alone in mortality costs as well as health, productivity losses and criminal justice costs. The estimate is based on “local wages, health care costs and criminal justice costs along with variation in opioid-related death and addiction rates, and average age-adjusted value of statistical lives lost,” according to the report.
Of the lower 48 states and Washington D.C., West Virginia by far had the highest total per-capita burden at $4,378, followed by Washington, D.C. ($3,657); New Hampshire ($3,640); Ohio ($3,385) and Maryland ($3,337). Meanwhile, Iowa ($705), Mississippi ($703), Texas($653), Montana ($596) and Nebraska experienced the lowest cost per capita, with Nebraska’s the lowest at $394. Alaska and Hawaii were not included in the analysis due to difficulties in obtaining consistent data.
“The misuse and abuse of prescription opioids as well as the addiction and abuse of heroin in the United States imposes incredible hardship on those who are addicted, their families, communities, and the economy more broadly,” the report concludes. ” As overdose deaths and costs associated with opioid abuse rise, policymakers are increasingly looking for ways to stem the epidemic. Identifying the local per capita economic burdens should inform policymakers in this effort.”
The working paper, to be published next week, was released a day after President Donald Trump announced his administration’s most comprehensive agenda to combat the opioid epidemic since he declared it a public health emergency in October 2017
. His plan includes policies for increased treatment availability, lowering the number of prescriptions and increased penalties for drug dealing and trafficking, including minimum sentences and in some cases the death penalty.
More than 42,000 Americans died of opioid-related overdoses in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse estimates that more than 115 people die daily from using prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl
– more than the number of deaths linked to guns, car crashes, or the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
By Katelyn Newman , Digital Producer, Staff Writer |March 20, 2018