Study: 2016 U.S. Economy Took $95B Hit from Opioid Crisis


WASHINGTON, DC – In a new study, the Altarum Institute found that the opioid crisis cost the U.S. economy $95 billion in 2016, largely due to loss of life from overdoses, which drove a loss of $43.2 billion.

As opioid overdoses fall within the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., the study shows how the entire nation is impacted by the crisis, and the dire need to find and implement solutions.

Altarum also notes the heaviest burden falls on the workforce, which sees a loss in potential employees and lower productivity among those battling addiction on the job.

Congress has been hard at work combating the opioid crisis. Last Congress saw two major initiatives to combat the epidemic signed into law – the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act.

Largely as a result of CARA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) distributed $144.1 million in September, to help combat the crisis. Additionally, the first half of Cures’ $1 billion in state grants was issued in April, totaling $485 million.

Additionally, Energy and Commerce continues to conduct investigations into some of the causes of the opioid crisis, including alleged pill dumping in the state of West Virginia and reports of patient brokers. #SubOversight has also been examining the wave of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin.

As the opioid crisis has spread in recent years, communities know all too well the hardships that come as a direct result. This report helps quantify the tragic toll from a new perspective.

Energy and Commerce remains committed to learning more about how and why the crisis originated, and what legislative solutions can be pursued. Track our efforts here.