Senator Joe Manchin’s office released a report today that found in 2016, the economic cost of the opioid epidemic in West Virginia was more than 8.7 billion dollars.
Nationwide, the economic cost of the opioid crisis is more than 500 billion, according to a 2017 report from the Council for Economic Advisors. The brief from Manchin’s office relied heavily on the CEA report to draw conclusions about the financial impact on West Virginia.
The council looked at the cost of opioid-related fatalities, health care spending, addiction treatment, criminal justice and lost productivity, concluding that fatalities resulting from overdose were the single most costly effect of the opioid epidemic.
The report determined the cost of the deaths on the U.S. economic system by using a conventional estimate for valuing human life called “value of statistical life” or VSL.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.