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Posted Friday, March 16, 2018 by Rich Bowlen

How Much is the Opioid Crisis Costing Governments? [Governing]

Every organization, service, and system feels the relentless demand of the opioid epidemic on their already overburdened, underfunded work. While some of this impact is easy to quantify, most of it is not—making it difficult for states to understand how much they’re spending, or justify additional funds. Governing’s article sheds light on some of these unquantifiable numbers.

Full summary:

The opioid epidemic's impact on our communities is nothing short of devastating. Every organization, service, and system feels the relentless demand on their already overburdened, underfunded work.

Some of the impact is easy to calculate, like the amount of money states are spending on overdose-reversal drugs. However, many other outcomes are much harder to measure.

Governing aims to shed light on these unquantifiable numbers in its article on how much the opioid crisis actually costs governments.

The entire article is loaded with insights, but here’s what caught my attention:

“The most difficult piece to quantify is the indirect costs, such as the children who become wards of the state after losing one or more parents to an overdose, the emotional toll the crisis takes on emergency responders, and the lost economic productivity for cities and towns.”

Read the article to get a more complete picture on the costs associated with the opioid epidemic, from health care, social services, and criminal justice spending to public safety and prevention efforts.

Read the article


Related Resource: The Ripple Effects of Opioids on Child Welfare [Webinar]

We recently discussed some of the indirect costs, or ripple effects, of the opioid epidemic on child welfare, including increasing caseloads, information overload, secondary trauma, and turnover.

As more and more providers begin to collaborate on increasingly complex needs, it has become impossible to keep up with the amount and sophistication of all the information pouring in at such an alarming rate. Understanding that every one of us experiences the effects of this monstrous drug in a different way, we created this webinar to:

  1. share the hidden trauma being experienced by those serving on the front lines to provide services,
  2. gain insight to one county’s successful effort to engage their state in addressing this issue,
  3. learn how some of the most powerful advancements in technology are being applied to help manage information in these incredibly difficult times,
  4. and, perhaps, most importantly, increase awareness on how far reaching this epidemic is.

Additionally, you will hear examples of how daily decisions and planning are being influenced amid this period of information overload.

Workers in every service delivery system are being asked to complete extraordinary tasks, such as:

  • quickly identifying the behavioral needs for each child associated with the dramatic increase in foster care,
  • identifying, contacting, and linking positive supports to help elderly individuals remain in their home, or
  • sifting through years and years of information to prepare for supervision, guardianship filings, or drug courts hearings.

It is only because of these dedicated and selfless workers that help is getting through. The opioid crisis is a major issue in nearly every eligibility, child welfare, adult services and adult protective services case. 

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