The High Economic Cost of the Opioid Crisis
Published on September 13, 2023
Opioid addiction and overdoses have devasted individuals, families, and communities across the state, nation, and world. The human costs of this health crisis are immeasurable and are the reason that aggressively attacking this crisis is a social and humanitarian imperative. At the same time, there are significant economic consequences and impacts that stem from this massive health issue. The Perryman Group recently estimated the costs of the opioid crisis in Texas in order to provide a perspective on the magnitude of these negative effects.
The Perryman Group estimates that the economic harms of the opioid crisis to the Texas economy includes $50.1 billion in gross product each year and more than 516,800 jobs (based on estimated 2022 levels and including multiplier effects). These negative effects occur year after year as long as the crisis persists and will grow even larger as the problem worsens. In fact, the estimated harm (adjusted for inflation) has more than doubled since 2017.
For people who died of overdoses in 2022, economic losses would go on for years into the future. The Perryman Group projected total losses of deaths in 2022 based on typical work-life patterns and other data and found that they include an estimated $114.6 billion in gross product and nearly 1.2 million job-years of employment. (A job-year is one person working for one year, though it could be multiple individuals working partial years.) Again, as long as the numbers of overdoses are rising, these substantial harms will also continue to compound and escalate over time.
Effectively dealing with the issue can improve the quality of life for those suffering while also reducing productivity losses, medical and public safety costs, and other economic fallout.
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