Charleston Gazette-Mail – Recently, the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy released “Saving Lives and Saving Money: The Case for Harm Reduction in Kanawha County.” Read the full op-ed.
As its author, I uncovered available data on the fatality and nonfatality costs associated with the drug epidemic in Kanawha County. I don’t need to repeat my findings here. But I am compelled to share the thoughts on the fatality costs that percolated in my head as I dug into the statistics.
The “value of statistical lives” economic analysis estimates that the cost of Kanawha County residents who died by overdosing, in 2019 alone, was about $1.525 billion. This means that, if those 137 people — ranging in age from 25 to 64 years old — had lived, they would have produced $1.525 billion in goods and services.
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