Wheeling Intelligencer, Associated Press – If the human toll is not enough reason for some elected and bureaucratic officials to take seriously the fight against substance abuse in our state, here is one that might come closer to speaking their language: According to the Center on Budget and Policy, treating and addressing substance abuse and addiction cost West Virginia an estimated $11.3 billion in 2019. Read the full op-ed.
In economist Jill Kriesky’s report, she includes the costs that have sprung out of the addiction epidemic such as hepatitis, HIV, neonatal abstinence syndrome and an overburdened foster care system. Her report estimates economic damages from drug-related fatalities in West Virginia were $9.8 billion in 2019.
In other words, approximately 15 percent of the Mountain State’s gross domestic product is being spent on this crisis, without any solution in sight.
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