What’s more, the true extent of harm caused by this family of drugs is nothing short of catastrophic. In fact, a new report indicates that the real cost of opioid use in the U.S. is far higher than initial estimates. The Council of Economic Advisers says the epidemic cost the United States $504 billion in 2015, more than six times above the most recent estimate, The Guardian reports. Financial loss aside, the most considerable toll of the opioid epidemic is the loss of life; no one can put a price tag on even a single entity. Over 64,000 people died of a drug overdose last year, alone; it’s likely the death toll this year will surpass 2016.
“Previous estimates of the economic cost of the opioid crisis greatly underestimate it by undervaluing the most important component of the loss – fatalities resulting from overdoses,” said the report.
Opioid Epidemic Remedies Require Funding
At the beginning of this month, we discussed the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis’ final report, which called for more drug courts and extensive training for doctors. The report also called for penalizing insurers who refuse to cover addiction treatment. Everything the commission recommended makes perfect sense, and hopefully following the suggestions will affect change. However, the report lacks specificity about funding for such efforts.
The commission’s report didn’t call for any new funding to cover the cost of the proposed initiatives, according to the article. Creating drug diversion courts, expanding access to treatment, training doctors, increasing the availability of naloxone, and holding insurers responsible will not be accomplished without significant funding. Good intentions without a purse are unlikely to bear fruit.
Channeling every available dollar for accomplishing the efforts above is a must. The more people who receive addiction treatment directly correlates to lives saved; given that more than two million Americans are actively battling opioid use disorder, substantial financial resources is the only way to ensure progress. The stakes are far too high to waver on providing funding.
Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
If you or a loved one is in the grips of opioid use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea. Our experienced staff can help break the cycle of addiction and begin the process of lasting recovery. Recovery is possible with help.