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Drug overdoses cost the US an estimated $1 trillion a year, report says

November 30, 2021: OnPoint NYC has opened two supervised drug injection sites in the Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods in an effort to address rising drug overdose deaths. (Photo by Yuki IWAMURA/AFP) (Photo by YUKI IWAMURA/AFP via Getty Images)

Yuki Iwamura | AFP | Getty Images

Fatal opioid overdoses are thought to cost the US economy $1 trillion each year, government officials have said.

In a report released Tuesday by the bipartisan U.S. Commission to Combat Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, it was revealed that synthetic opioids — primarily fentanyl — were responsible for nearly two out of three reported overdose deaths in the United States. during the year until June 2021.

More than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses during that time, a 30% increase from the previous year, he said. And overdoses have been responsible for more than a million deaths in the United States since 1999, according to the report, more than double the number caused by firearms or car accidents.

The US Commission to Combat Synthetic Opioid Trafficking includes representatives from several federal departments and agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Four members were appointed to the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“In 2018, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the cost of overdose deaths was $696 billion, although it accounts for about two-thirds of annual overdose deaths today,” the agency said. committee in its report.

“So it’s reasonable to estimate that drug overdoses now cost the United States about $1 trillion a year.”

According to the report, this “staggering amount” is mainly due to lost productivity caused by premature deaths, as well as health care and criminal justice costs.

President Joe Biden declared illicit drug trafficking a national emergency in a December executive order.

In 2017, former President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic in the United States a public health emergency, calling it a source of “national disgrace”.

The report said on Tuesday that synthetic drug trafficking in the United States was not just a public health emergency, but “a national emergency that threatens both national security and the economic well-being of the country.”

“In terms of loss of life and damage to the economy, illicit synthetic opioids have the effect of a slow-motion weapon of mass destruction in pill form,” the report’s authors said.

The Commission proposed several ways for the government to take a “national and coordinated approach” to the opioid crisis, including developing a central agency to implement all US drug control policies. The Commission also recommended increasing access to drug treatment and working with other countries involved in the production and distribution of synthetic opioids.

The Council on Foreign Relations has called the outbreak one of America’s worst drug crises. According to the CFR, more than 1,300 people die each week from opioid-related overdoses, while millions more Americans suffer from opioid addiction.

Pandemic outbreak

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, rising rates of fatal opioid overdoses were responsible for reduced life expectancies in the United States. Americans’ life expectancy fell again in 2020, which was widely attributed to the pandemic, but opioid-related deaths also played a role.

According to Tuesday’s report, addiction and opioid-related deaths have increased as the pandemic took hold.

“Amazingly, the number of overdose deaths in the United States has increased exponentially since 1979 and doesn’t appear to be dropping any time soon,” he said.

“Since 1999, we’ve lost more than a million Americans to drug overdoses. That’s a million mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters lost because our country’s response to opioid epidemic has failed,” said Rep. David Trone, co-chair. of the Commission, in a press release on Tuesday.

Co-Chair Sen. Tom Cotton added that 274 Americans die every day from drug overdoses, or one person every five minutes, “and every day it gets worse.”

Congressman Fred Upton, also a member of the Commission, called on authorities to crack down on Mexican drug cartels and said the United States must “force China’s hand to suppress their pharmaceutical industry supplying the cartels with the basic compounds used to make synthetic opioids”.

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