The Facts of the Epidemic
Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death among people below the age of 50 years.
64,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016.
142 people die from an overdose of heroin or prescription drugs every day.
Since 2000, nearly 500,000 people in the U.S. have died due to a drug overdose.
In 2012, 259 million opioid painkillers were prescribed in the U.S.
An NIH study showed that nearly 10 percent of adults have suffered from an addiction disorder, and that 75 percent never seek treatment.
The cost of treating a patient diagnosed with addiction is more than 550 percent higher than treating non-addicts.
Professional charges for opioid abuse and dependence rose by more than 1000 percent from 2011 to 2015. This is an increase of $650 million in four years.
15 billion opioid tablets were dispensed per year in retail pharmacies in the US in 2013 and 2014, far more per capita than any other nation.
From 1991 to 2013, the prevalence of non-medical use of prescription opioids increased from 1.5% to 4.1% of the population, and addiction increased from .3% to .9% of the population.
6% of new HIV cases are due to injectable drug use.
Good news/bad news: spending on treatment for substance abuse disorders grew from $15.3B in 2004 to $44.9B in 2014.
Of the approximately 1.5M people are arrested annually for a drug-related offense, 85% are for individual drug possession.
According to Harvard Business Review, “Researchers estimate the cost of the U.S. Opioid epidemic may be as high as $80 billion a year, even excluding the economic cost of a lost life.
Opioids could account for about 20% of the decline in labor force participation from 1999 to 2015. (Alan B. Kreuger), Princeton
Nearly one third of prime working age men who are not in the labor force are taking prescription pain medication on a daily basis. (Kreuger)