Alex Brill recently joined Garrett Ballengee, founding executive director of the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy, on their podcast “Forgotten America.” In this fascinating interview, Brill discusses the economic impacts of the opioid crisis in America, noting that the epidemic is no longer just an Appalachian problem.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across our country and claimed more than 100,000 lives in a few short months, the opioid epidemic, which dates back to at least the early 2000s, has received less attention. But the toll of the opioid crisis in the United States remains enormous by any measure.
Recent data show a small decline in opioid-related mortality following a decade during which opioid-related mortality more than doubled to nearly 53,000 in 2018. However, the aggregate statistics mask important spatial and temporal trends in the data. This report estimates nationwide, regional, and county-level economic costs associated with the opioid crisis.