America’s opioid epidemic has cost the country more than $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017 and could cost another $500 billion by 2020, a new analysis found.
The analysis released Tuesday from consulting firm Altarum estimates the cost of the opioid crisis increased from $29.1 billion in 2001 to $115 billion in 2017. It comes as Congress is adding more money to fight the epidemic.
The analysis says the costs of the crisis come from lost wages, lost productivity in the private sector, and healthcare costs. Lost tax revenue from federal, local and state governments, and more spending on healthcare and other services to fight the epidemic.
“The greatest cost comes from lost earnings and productivity from overdose deaths — estimated at $800,000 per person based on an average age of 41 among overdose victims,” the analysis said. “The figure is largely made up of lost wages of workers and productivity losses of employers, but it also weighs on government in the form of lost tax revenue.”
In 2016, 42,249 Americans died from opioids, five times higher than in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, the number of opioid overdose deaths is estimated to be higher than 62,500 based on data through June, Altarum added.
The analysis comes a day after President Trump’s budget sought to add $5 billion over five years for fighting the opioid epidemic. Congress is also expected to add $6 billion in a two-year spending bill called an omnibus that will be voted on in March.