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The Economy and Addiction

Addiction is destructive to the economy, hurting the pockets of Americans

One way this issue of addiction affects people is the economy. Created By: Keith Brown

How the Drug Industry Affects the Economy

Drugs are money-makers, and whether people are getting them prescribed from a doctor or from an illegal dealer, people are going to find ways to pay to get them.

There are many costs and consequences of drug use. According to the National Institute on Health, between 1999 and 2012,  spending for prescription opioids tripled from $2.3 billion to $7.4 billion.

Pharmaceutical companies get money from developing drugs and then marketing them to doctors who in turn prescribe it. Drug dealers need money as well and make it through acquiring a supply of drugs and then selling them to those in their communities, sometimes even nationally and internationally.

The damage that an addiction to these drugs causes not only hurts the pockets of the individual going through the issue, but it affects the economy as a whole. With those that we lose from abuse and addiction to overdoses and the prison system also equals a loss in productivity to our economy.

If people are constantly focused on getting their next fix, how can they work? If they’re not working, how are they contributing and providing for their household?

The fight against substance abuse and addiction takes funding, something that can be a challenge for treatment programs and rehabilitation centers, due to it having to compete with other issues for funding. Without proper funding, treatment programs and services are unable to provide the proper resources needed to help those dealing with the issue of abuse and addiction. Funding also affects combatting the problem because schools are cutting out preventative drug programs in order to save money.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which would expand prescription drug take-back programs and establish monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers has yet to be put through an appropriations bill, so it still has no official funding. It would expand the availability of medication-assisted treatment, including in criminal justice settings, and would support treatment as an alternative to incarceration.

The measure also calls for training and equipping first responders on the use of the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

According to the Secretary of Education for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania Pedro Rivera, the main ingredient to combatting the issue is funding.  “I think first and foremost we have to be present, we have to make the resources available, we have to find champions within that demographic in that community that can carry that message forward,” Rivera said.

Something that was more of an issue before the Affordable Care Act, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Acts, and Medicaid, was that many simply did not have health insurance to cover the cost of treatment programs, leaving many hopeless without the possibility of paying out of pocket. While these steps have made a huge impact towards making healthcare and treatment more accessible, there are still those in extreme circumstances that have no healthcare and can’t afford to pay out of pocket for treatment.

Written by: Keith Brown

One way that substance abuse and addiction affects us all is through the economy. Created by: Drew Vernon