October 26 marked National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which provided Americans an opportunity to prevent drug misuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. One of the most tangible examples of the dangers of misusing prescription drugs comes from the opioid crisis, which the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimates cost $696 billion in 2018-or 3.4 percent of GDP-and more than $2.5 trillion for the four-year period from 2015 to 2018. These massive costs point to the nationwide economic destruction from America’s very human “crisis next door.”
In 2017, CEA published a report that measured the full cost of the opioid crisis by considering the value of lost lives, as well as increases in healthcare and substance abuse treatment costs, increases in criminal justice costs, and reductions in productivity. The updated estimates for 2018 were calculated using a similar methodology as the 2017 report.
CEA’s cost estimates are more than three times higher than the findings from a recent Society of Actuaries study