The Economic Cost of the Opioid Epidemic

The economic burden on the US economy is estimated to be almost $80 bn per year, or 0.5% of GDP, according to a new study published in the Journal Medical Care by Florence, et al.  

In an accompanying editorial, Harold Pollock admits that:

As always with cost-of-illness studies, I confess that I do not grasp the policy-analytic question to which $78.5 billion is the specific answer. If anything, it likely understates the economic impact of prescription opiate disorders.

The dollars, the lives lost (>33,000 in 2015), the lives destroyed are so overwhelming that its hard for anyone to grasp.  It sometimes feels like no matter how loud the volume is turned up, no one is doing what it takes on a scale necessary to turn back the tide.

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