BOSTON (AP) – The opioid crisis is costing Mbadachusetts $ 2.5 billion a year in lost productivity for employees who do not show up for work because of their addiction or who show up, but are so distracted by their addiction or the need to take care of them. a member of the addicted family who can not concentrate on their jobs.
That's one of the conclusions of a report released on Wednesday by the Mbadachusetts Taxpayers Foundation backed by companies.
While the addiction crisis, which has killed thousands of Mbadachusetts residents in recent years, has been measured to a large extent by the social and emotional cost it has had for families and communities, the new report also attempts to frame the cost in economic terms.
"There is an old business school adage that can not handle what it can not measure, so we thought that quantifying the cost and providing an idea of the magnitude would motivate employers to become more involved in this issue," said the president. of the foundation, Eileen McAnneny. . "The economic impact is a crisis in itself."
One of the main reasons why the opioid epidemic should worry employers is that it threatens to make it harder to find and keep employees in an already limited labor market, McAnneny said.
According to the report, opioids have prevented 32,700 people from participating in the workforce in Mbadachusetts for the past seven years.
The report set at $ 5.9 billion the total economic impact for the state last year on the loss of productivity of people who can not work due to the addiction crisis, unlike people who were already employed and who did not presented or were distracted at work.
The report also estimated that the income confiscated from those who died from overdoses was $ 1.1 billion for 2017.
Without a significant drop in opioid abuse and overdose deaths, the state will face "an unprecedented restriction on growth," according to the report.
"People may have the feeling that Mbadachusetts is at the top and we have made progress and we have, but it is not enough," McAnneny said in an interview.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers, in a report last year, set the real cost of the nationwide epidemic of opioids, including deaths caused by heroin and other illicit opiates, at a staggering $ 504 billion in 2015. That estimate was significantly higher than previous studies that focused mainly on the costs badociated with prescription drug abuse and dependence, including medical care and lost productivity.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed two major bills aimed at addressing the opioid crisis during his first four years in office and said that after winning re-election on November 6, the opioid abuse crisis will remain a priority in his second term.
There have been some signs that the state may be turning a corner.
In 2017 there was a 4 percent drop in deaths from opioid-related overdoses compared to 2016, according to the state Department of Public Health. The number of deaths confirmed by opioid-related overdoses for 2017 was still 1,909, compared to 2,089 in 2016 and 1,685 in 2015, according to statistics published in August.
The number of deaths from opioid-related overdoses has continued to decline during the first three months of 2018, but there are still worrisome trends, especially that the presence of fentanyl in overdose deaths has reached a historic high. The powerful opioid has been discovered in toxicology tests for nearly 90 percent of people who died of deaths from opioid-related overdoses this year.
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