New research from Indiana University shows opioid overdose deaths in the state have risen by more than 500 percent the past 15 years and misuse of these drugs has cost Indiana billions in economic damage.
IU research shows that misuse of opioids in Indiana cost $4.3 billion last year and will exceed $4 billion this year — or about $11 million each day.
Direct costs are expected to top more than $1 billion in Indiana in 2018, according to IU research. Gross state product losses from the accrual of deaths in Indiana will likely exceed $1.25 billion, and another $1.75 billion will be lost due to underemployment attributed to misusers.
Ryan Brewer, associate professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, and Kayla Freeman, a doctoral candidate in finance at the IU Kelley School of Business, studied the opioid epidemic’s impact on state and local economies, the labor market and health care providers in a special issue of the Indiana Business Review, published by the IU Kelley School of Business’ Indiana Business Research Center.
More than 12,300 state residents are estimated to have died from 2003 to 2017 due to opioid overdoses — nearly the same number of people who live in Pike County in southern Indiana.
Opioid addiction can hinder or prevent misusers from finding employment or being part of the labor market, which then leads to reduced gross state product, the researchers found. Lost gross state product has gone from zero in 2003 to $1.72 billion in 2016 — nearly double the $926 million loss from the year before.
Potential lost wages due to opioid misuse totaled $752 million in 2016.
“While it is true the entire nation has been mired in the crisis, only a handful of states — including Indiana — have been struggling with the epidemic while also facing an increasingly tight labor market, which challenges our hopes of realizing strong post-recessionary growth in an economy where labor is increasingly difficult to find,” Brewer said.
This research contributes to IU’s efforts to address the addictions crisis. IU’s Grand Challenge initiative Responding to the Addictions Crisis brings together faculty, as well as its business, nonprofit and government partners to create a comprehensive plan to reduce deaths from addiction, ease the burden of addiction on Hoosier communities, and improve health and economic outcomes. This collaborative, statewide initiative is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-led response to the opioid addiction crisis.