The spiralling cost of the U.S. opioid addiction crisis
September 30, 2022 - Opioid-related deaths accounted for 75% of the 107,000 drug overdose fatalities in 2021 and cost the United States $1.5 trillion in 2020, according to a congressional report.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with its health care system disrupted, the economic toll of the opioid addiction crisis in the United States reached nearly $1.5 trillion in 2020.
More than 69,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2020 – up from around 50,000 deaths the previous year. In 2021, the death rate rose to more than 80,000, leading the Joint Economic Committee to predict an even heftier economic impact when those numbers are released later this year.
The data clearly shows that opioid-related deaths soared during the heights of the coronavirus pandemic, exacerbating an already horrendous nationwide crisis.
Of the total 107,000 people that died of drug overdoes in the U.S. in 2021, 75% of them were opioid-related – the equivalent of a Boeing 737 passenger jet crashing every day with no survivors.
Note: The financial estimates were calculated by multiplying the per capita cost estimate of opioid use disorder and fatal opioid overdoses from 2017 by the total number of opioid use disorder cases and fatal opioid overdoses in 2018,2019 and 2020. The figures were then adjusted for inflation set at 2020 dollars.