White House says true cost of opioid drug epidemic in 2015 was $504bn

Report factors in illicit opiods like heroin as well as prescription drugs
The Guardian (UK)
Monday, November 20, 2017

The White House says the true cost of the opioid drug epidemic in 2015 was $504bn. In an analysis, the Council of Economic Advisers says the figure is more than six times larger than the most recent estimate. A 2016 study estimated that prescription opioid overdoses, abuse and dependence in the US in 2013 cost $78.5bn. Most of that was attributed to healthcare and criminal justice spending, along with lost productivity. The council's estimate is significantly larger because the epidemic has worsened, with overdose deaths doubling in the past decade, and that some previous studies did not reflect the number of fatalities blamed on opioids, a powerful but addictive category of painkillers. (See also: China disputes Trump’s claim of flood of Chinese fentanyl into US)