Massachusetts lost $15.2B to opioid epidemic in 2017

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation issued a report Nov. 15, illustrating the state of Massachusetts lost $15.2 billion due to the opioid epidemic and overdoses attributed to opioids, according to WBUR.

"[The numbers are] staggering of the dollars spent on hospital care, EMTs, early intervention for infants and families, jails and the job productivity forfeited by individuals and employers. We wanted folks to get a sense of the pervasiveness. It really impacts all major areas: healthcare, criminal justice, public safety and businesses," Eileen McAnneny, foundation president, told WBUR.

Here are six things to know:

1. Massachusetts  reports spending  $1.9 billion of its budget in 2017 on the opioid epidemic. This was seen in five areas including: MassHealth, the departments of Public Health, Mental Health, Children and Families and the larger criminal justice system.

2. Employers spent $2.1 billion more on opioid-related healthcare during 2017.

3. Emergency rooms visits linked to opioid use rose about 24 percent every year from 2010 to 2015.

4.Wages not distributed to men and women who died from an opioid overdose topped $1.1 billion between 2016 and 2017. This is three times the loss reported in 2011, according to the report.

5.Gross state product for Massachusetts was $64 billion short of its projection without the opioid epidemic.

6. The report also highlighted a loss in productivity, totaling about $9.7 billion, which included lost wages, long-term impairment or injury and death.

More articles on opioids:

Opioid overdose 'silver lining': Organ donations up in Philadelphia
Pharmacies fall short on stocking naloxone despite anti-overdose initiatives
Facebook partners with University of Alabama to end online drug sales

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