The Economic Burden of Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse and Dependence in the United States, 2013
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The Economic Burden of Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse and Dependence in the United States, 2013

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  • English

  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Med Care
    • Description:

      It is important to understand the magnitude and distribution of the economic burden of prescription opioid overdose, abuse and dependence to inform clinical practice, research and other decision makers. Decision makers choosing approaches to address this epidemic need cost information to evaluate the cost effectiveness of their choices.


      To estimate the economic burden of prescription opioid overdose, abuse, and dependence from a societal perspective

      Design, Setting and Participants

      Incidence of fatal prescription opioid overdose from the National Vital Statistics System, prevalence of abuse and dependence from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. Fatal data are for the U.S population, nonfatal data are is a nationally representative sample of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population ages 12 and older. Cost data are from various sources including health care claims data from the Truven Health MarketScan® Research Databases, and cost of fatal cases from the WISQARS™ (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) cost module. Criminal justice costs were derived from the Justice Expenditure and Employment Extracts published by the Department of Justice. Estimates of lost productivity were based on a previously published study.


      Calendar year 2013

      Main Outcomes and Measures

      Monetized burden of fatal overdose and abuse and dependence of prescription opioids.


      The total economic burden is estimated to be $78.5 billion. Over one third of this amount (is due to increased health care and substance abuse treatment costs ($28.9 billion). Approximately one quarter of the cost is borne by the public sector in health care, substance abuse treatment, and criminal justice costs.

      Conclusions and Relevance

      These estimates can assist decision makers in understanding the magnitude of adverse health outcomes associated with prescription opioid use such as overdose, abuse, and dependence.

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