The Evolving Opioid Crisis
Alex Brill, Scott Ganz and Burke O’Brien | AEIdeas
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. Opioid-related fatalities totaled more than 370,000 from 2009 to 2018. In addition to this tragic loss of life, the crisis has caused trillions of dollars of societal harm. In addition to this tragic loss of life, the crisis has caused trillions of dollars of societal harm. In a recent American Enterprise Institute research paper, we detail the economic cost of the opioid crisis and investigate how these costs are distributed across the country and over time. We find that, while the crisis remains severe, there are signs of hope in some places.