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Opioid misuse costs Indiana billions annually, $11 million every day



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IU researchers have determined that over the past 15 years the number of opioid deaths has increased by more than 500 percent in Indiana, with it costing the state a total of $43.3 billion.  Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Every day the state of Indiana loses around $11 million. Last year, Indiana lost $4.3 billion and around $4 billion this year because of the misuse of opioid drugs. 

IU researchers have also determined that over the past 15 years the number of opioid deaths has increased by more than 500 percent with it costing the state a total of $43.3 billion. 

More than 12,300 state residents are estimated to have died from 2003 to 2017 due to opioid overdoses, according to an IU press release.

This research comes from Ryan Brewer, a professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, and Kayla Freeman, a doctoral candidate at IU's Kelley School of Business, who have studied the influence of the opioid crisis on the state and local economies and recommended approaches for legislators to make.

"While it is true the entire nation has been mired in the crisis, only a handful of states — including Indiana — have been struggling with the epidemic while also facing an increasingly tight labor market, which challenges our hopes of realizing strong post-recessionary growth in an economy where labor is increasingly difficult to find," Brewer said in the release.

Direct costs are expected to top $1 billion alone. According to the research, costs from deaths will likely exceed $1.25 billion, with another $1.75 billion lost from underemployment attributed to drug abusers who have difficulty finding jobs with a history of drug use.

The research done by Brewer and Freeman is part of IU's Grand Challenge initiative "Responding to the Addictions Crisis" which is working to bring together faculty, organizations, nonprofit and government organizations to create a comprehensive plan for the opioid epidemic. 

Among Brewer and Freeman's findings:

  • Non-lethal opioid overdoses cost more than $224 million in hospitalization costs in 2016 alone, with an additional $297 million in other opioid-related hospital stays.
  • More than $40 million is annually spent on rehabilitation costs.
  • The cost of drug arrests and court costs exceeds $13 million annually. 
  • Costs of incarceration for drug-related offenses have reached more than $70 million annually.
  • Infants are also affected by drug use and can be afflicted with a disease kown as neonatal abstienece syndrome. These children experience withdrawal symptoms after losing access to their mother's drugs post-partum. The researchers estimate that total marginal costs for neonatal abstinence syndrome births totaled more than $36 million in 2016.
  • An estimated 5,243 Hoosier children in 2016 were in foster care due to parental opioid misuse (a more than 600 percent higher increase from 2003).
  • Total funeral costs for victims of opioid overdose deaths rose from $1.2 million in 2003 to $7.1 million in 2016.

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