Updated Feb 13, 2018

Opioid crisis has cost the U.S. $1 trillion

Police and medical workers treat a woman who overdosed on heroin. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The opioid crisis has cost the U.S. $1 trillion since 2001, according to Altarum, a nonprofit health research firm. Those costs have been increasing more rapidly over the past few years, and Altarum projects they’ll grow by another $500 billion just by 2020.

By the numbers:

  • Most of that $1 trillion comes from lost wages, productivity and tax revenue, Altarum said.
  • The health care system directly bore about a quarter of the total financial burden — $215 billion — largely from emergency treatment of overdoses.

The human cost: Roughly 64,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, driven by a recent surge in deaths from fentanyl, heroin and prescription opioids — making today’s addiction crisis worse than the HIV epidemic at its peak.

Between the lines: “Lost wages and productivity” can seem like a nebulous cost, but it’s a good way to think about the ripple effects of this crisis beyond the people who die from it. When 116 people per day are dying from opioid-related overdoses, at an average age of just 41, their “lost wages and productivity” are a partial measure of the hole that’s left in their families and their communities.

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Businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban revived talk of an improbable 2020 presidential bid during an Axios virtual event on Friday.

  • "Everything's a reset right now," Cuban told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei from Dallas. "If this would would've been a month ago, I would have said absolutely not. But obviously things are crazy, things are changing. So I'll keep an open mind. But I seriously doubt it."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  3. Business latest: Mark Cuban criticizes "arrogant" 3M on respirator production — The wartime mobilization effort to produce ventilators and medical supplies got started too late.
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  6. World update: About half of the deaths worldwide are in Italy and Spain, with fatalities exponentially increasing across Europe.
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Mark Cuban criticizes "arrogant" 3M on respirator production

Photo: Axios Events

Businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said during an Axios virtual event Friday that 3M is "arrogant" for not speaking up about respirator production in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

What he said: Cuban criticized the company for "making more globally than domestically," echoing a similar line from President Trump now that the U.S. is the epicenter of the pandemic. "You can't ghost the American people," he told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei from Dallas.