Huntington Herald-Dispatch, Charleston-Gazette – A new report from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy has estimated the addiction epidemic cost the state $11.3 billion in 2019 alone. Read the full article.
The report, written by economist Jill Kriesky, examines the dollars spent on treating and addressing the diverse array of harms that stem from West Virginia’s current addiction crisis, including hepatitis B and C, HIV, endocarditis, neonatal abstinence syndrome and an overburdened foster care system.
Using the same methodology used by the Council of Economic Advisers to the President of the United States in its 2017 analysis of the opioid epidemic in the U.S., Kriesky estimates the economic damages caused by drug-related fatalities in West Virginia totaled around $9.7 billion in 2018 and $9.8 billion in 2019. The report also found it cost Kanawha County $1.7 billion in 2019.
These figures represent nearly 15% of the state and county gross domestic products.
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