The economic impact of drug and alcohol abuse cannot be overstated. The numbers you’re about to see might seem abstract in a way, but they’ll become very concrete if you consider the benefits your state would have received if the money lost to addiction had been spent on prevention.
Here are some of the economic numbers associated with drug abuse in North Carolina and across the United States:
- Unintentional opioid-involved overdose deaths cost the state a combined total of $2.3 billion in 2018.
- Heroin use took over $875 million out of the state economy during the same year.
- 19.3% of North Carolina’s 2016 state budget was spent on substance use disorders.
- Alcohol abuse costs North Carolina approximately $7 billion a year.
- Almost 40% of these costs are paid with taxpayer money.
Alcohol abuse has a significant negative effect on both personal and public health. It is connected to increases in the incidence of things like violence, suicide, homicide, and risky behavior. In fact, studies have shown that alcohol was involved in 23% of the suicides in North Carolina.
Over 30% of the opioid prescriptions written are abused in one form or another. Many of these subscriptions are subsidized by North Carolina employers and demonstrate the drastic effects that opioid use can have on the state economy. On average, employees who abuse opioid drugs cost employers nearly $20,000 a year in medical expenses, which is almost twice the amount spent on non-abusers.