Heroin use in the United States was estimated to cost society more than $51 billion in 2015, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
According to the World Drug Report 2016 from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, heroin use has reached the highest level in 20 years in the U.S. and is the deadliest drug worldwide.
UIC pharmacoeconomists led by Simon Pickard and Ruixuan Jiang created a cost-analytic model to determine how heroin impacts society using several variables: number of imprisoned heroin users and their crimes; treatment costs of heroin abuse; chronic infectious diseases contracted through heroin abuse (HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis), and cost of their treatments; cost of treating newborns with medical conditions associated with heroin; lost productivity at work; and heroin overdose deaths.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that heroin users are less productive than others due to premature death; spend more time away from work due to seeking treatment for drug dependence and for drug-related hospitalizations, and have high rates of work absenteeism and unemployment.
On average, the societal cost per heroin user per year is $50,799. An estimated 1 million people are active heroin users in the United States, putting the total societal cost at approximately $51 billion, said Pickard, professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy.”
Source: Eurekalert.org – June 8, 2017