Opioid Epidemic Cost the U.S. $500 Billion in 2015

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The true cost of the U.S. opioid epidemic in 2015 was $504 billion, which is six times higher than the most recent estimate, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

A 2016 study found that prescription opioid overdoes, abuse and dependence in 2013 cost the nation $78.5 billion in areas such as health care, criminal justice and lost productivity, the Associated Press reported.

"Previous estimates of the economic cost of the opioid crisis greatly underestimate it by undervaluing the most important component of the loss -- fatalities resulting from overdoses," the council said in the analysis released Sunday night.

Last year, more than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, and most of those deaths involved a prescription painkiller or an illicit opioid like heroin, the APreported.

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