US spent $631B addressing opioid crisis in last 4 years, study finds

The opioid crisis cost the U.S. at least $631 billion from 2015 to 2018, with healthcare costs constituting a third of the economic loss, according to a study released Oct. 15 by the Society of Actuaries. 

Researchers from Milliman, a management consulting company, analyzed economic losses associated with the opioid crisis in 2015-2018 to "get a more holistic picture of where these excess costs are coming from," Dale Hall, managing director of research at the Society of Actuaries, told CBS News.

Here are some key takeaways from the study:

1. Mortality costs were the largest financial loss from 2015-18, constituting 40 percent of the total, or $253 billion. These costs were primarily lost earnings of overdose victims.

2. Healthcare costs — mainly from Medicaid, Medicare and other government programs — were the second largest economic loss. Healthcare spending constitutes a third, or $205 billion, of the estimated total, and includes inpatient and outpatient visits and care for family members.

3. Government spending to address the opioid crisis made up 29 percent, or $186 billion, of the total estimated costs, with 71 percent from private sector and individuals.

4. Losses from lost productivity tied to absenteeism, decreased labor force participation, incarceration for opioid-related crimes and employer spending for workers' compensation benefits amounted to $96 billion.

5. Researchers estimate another $214 billion of opioid-related costs in 2019.

More articles on opioids:
Drug companies reach last-minute opioid settlement
West Virginia receives $6.5M for state opioid abuse program, telehealth services
HHS creates clinician resource for tapering patients' opioid use

More articles on opioids:
Drug companies reach last-minute opioid settlement
West Virginia receives $6.5M for state opioid abuse program, telehealth services
HHS creates clinician resource for tapering patients' opioid use

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