A new report says Missouri’s opioid epidemic is costing billions of dollars.

The Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City

The Missouri Hospital Association says the total economic cost of Missouri’s opioid epidemic was $12.6 billion in 2016.

Hospital Association vice president Mat Reidhead says that was more than four percent of the state’s total GDP in 2016.

“To build some context around that figure, $12.6 billion means that opioid misuse and overdose deaths cost Missouri $1.4 million every hour of everyday in 2016,” Reidhead says.

Reidhead tells Missourinet there were 921 Missouri opioid overdose deaths in 2016, adding that the economic cost of those 921 opioid overdose deaths was estimated at $12.1 billion.

“It’s a problem that we need to get a handle on and as these numbers suggest, there’s a lot of room for positive returns on investments and prevention and treatment for opioid use disorder,” says Reidhead.

The Hospital Association’s report says that “the devastating effect of the opioid crisis has contributed to an unprecedented drop in life expectancy.”

Reidhead says nearly three Missourians died daily from an opioid overdose in 2016.

“The importance of prevention and treatment is higher right now than ever before, and that’s because 75 percent of heroin users started with a prescription opioid misuse problem,” Reidhead says.

Reidhead says Missouri’s opioid overdose mortality rate has nearly doubled in the past five years.


Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Missouri Hospital Association vice president Mat Reidhead, which was recorded on January 17, 2018: