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Home / Health / Connelly: Opioid Crisis Costs Washington More Than $ 9 Billion – Report

Connelly: Opioid Crisis Costs Washington More Than $ 9 Billion – Report



Published on Monday, April 23, 2018, 5:58 pm


The economic cost of the opioid crisis for the state of Washington in 2016 amounted to more than $ 9 billion in combined deaths, healthcare spending, Addiction treatment, criminal justice and productivity loss, according to a report by Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash.

The report shows that opioid deaths are the biggest economic impact of the crisis.

Washington epidemic deaths ranged from 640 to 718 deaths each year between 2006 and 2016, the most recent year for which full figures are available.

Between 425 and 583 deaths per year resulted from overdose of prescription drugs, a figure well above that of heroin overdose deaths. However, heroin deaths have increased, with the majority of heroin users reporting that they first "tapped" painkillers.

"This new analysis shows how much our communities lose economically when faced with the many challenges of the opioid epidemic," Murray said in a statement.

RELATED: AG Reveals How Large Drug Makers Market Its Opioids

The state of Washington has sued oxoxcontin maker Purdue Pharma and indicted that the company was fueling the opioid epidemic. The suit claims misleading marketing, persuasive physicians, and the public that medicines are harmless and offer a low-risk way of treating pain.

Purdue has "energetically denied" the claim.

The city of Seattle has filed a separate lawsuit against Purdue, and also against Teva Pharmaceutical, Janssen Pharmaceutical, Endo Pharmaceutical and Allergan.

An estimated 59,000 Americans died in 2016 from drug overdoses, up from 52,000 a year earlier. An estimated 33,000 overdose deaths in 2015 – 20,000 more than prescription deaths, nearly 13,000 overdose heroin – came from opioids.

Related: Report: Opioid overdoses kill two in Washington every day

Murray's report was prepared by minority members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). Murray is the ranking of the Democrat of the panel.

The report aligns the methodology used in a November 2017 Council of Economic Advisers report that earlier analysis of opioid costs significantly underestimated the price of the epidemic. The HELP committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday on Tuesday Opioid Crisis Response Act, a bipartisan proposal sponsored by Murray and committee chair Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee.

SeattlePI.com author Joel Connelly can be reached at 206-448-8160 or [email protected]


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