“The most recent study on the economic costs of heroin addiction in the U.S. dates back to 1996 by the MEDSTAT Group in the District of Columbia. The authors estimated heroin addiction cost the U.S. economy $21.9 billion overall, $5.2 billion in criminal activity, $11.5 billion in productivity losses and $5 billion in medical care.
However, there haven’t been any recent studies on U.S. heroin addiction costs, but if one calculates the rate of inflation since 1996 at a 2.26% increase annually, that would put today’s heroin addiction costs at more than $33.6 billion.
According to a report by Fox News, the ACA should improve treatment for heroin addicts because up to 5 million people with drug and alcohol problems are eligible for insurance coverage under the overhaul. But, Dr. Tom McLellan, CEO of the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, said it will likely take years before insurance companies fully comply with the law. Dr. McLellan’s recent blog in The Philadelphia Inquirer was optimistic with the “all-of-society response” referred to by the CDC’s director, Dr. Tom Frieden.
McLellan said this new approach “to improve opioid prescribing practices to prevent addiction, expand access to effective treatment for those who are addicted, increase use of naloxone to reverse overdoses and work with law enforcement partners like the DEA to reduce the supply of heroin…says a lot to me – particularly that our country has begun to take a full-fledged public health and public safety approach to the epidemic of opioid use problems.”
Source: HealthcareDive.com – September 28, 2015