CHARLESTON — A new analysis shows the opioid crisis cost West Virginia more than $8.72 billion in 2016.
The analysis, modeled after a national analysis conducted by the Council for Economic Advisers, includes costs related to fatalities, health care spending, addiction treatment, criminal justice and lost productivity.
The largest economic impact of the crisis in West Virginia was opioid-related fatalities, which cost the state $8.149 billion in 2016. Opioid-related deaths in West Virginia have doubled over the past 10 years and quadrupled over the past 16 years.
Broken down, the costs of the other categories were: health care spending, $262.88 million; addiction treatment, $28.43 million; criminal justice, $77.17 million; lost productivity, $206.08.
From 2012-2016, the total economic cost of opioid-related fatalities in West Virginia was over $31 billion, the report said.
“The opioid epidemic is taking countless lives and bankrupting families, communities and our state,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. “This data shows that not only is this crisis a public health emergency, but it’s an economic one. We have truly reached a crisis point and we need all hands on deck in order to fight this epidemic together.”
Manchin said the Senate HELP Committee passed a comprehensive bill last week that aims to help mitigate the damage by funding substance use disorder treatment centers and other efforts to stop illicit opioid use, reduce overdose deaths and help recovering addicts reenter society.
“This bill doesn’t include everything though and when it comes to the floor, I’ll be fighting to include my LifeBOAT Act to set up a permanent funding stream for treatment centers,” he said “We need significant funding increases and programs that the state can use in order to start reversing this damage.”
This new analysis was released as the Senate Health Committee voted last week to pass the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018. This legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.