The opioid epidemic has not just had a devastating impact on the lifespan of Americans, but also on the country’s economy. It has cost billions of dollars to the nation as a large chunk of the population stayed away from office. This was corroborated by a newly published study by the American Action Forum (AAF). The medication had a profound effect on the productivity as nearly 1 million people (aged 25 to 54) remained absent from work in 2015 due to their opioid addiction problem, which grew every year from 1999 to 2015.
The study authors calculated that the loss of employees’ productivity took a heavy toll on the economy, costing a complete loss of $702 billion or almost $44 billion loss every year. Co-author Ben Gitis, director of labour market policy in the AAF, stated that there was a loss of work by 0.2 percent in the particular period. The average growth rate was 2 percent and if the workers attended work, the growth rate would have been 2.2 percent.
Gitis said not just opioids are causing deaths, they’re majorly hindering the country’s economic growth. He extrapolated the study results of Princeton University economist Alan Krueger, who stated that a decline in workforce participation of 20 percent and 25 percent was found for women and men, respectively because of an increase in the prescriptions for painkillers.
Kruger also noted that regions with the maximum number of opioid prescriptions observed a high number of workers dropping off. Based on Grtis’s research also, for girls, more work hours were lost between 1999 and 2015 (6.4 billion) than men (5.7 billion). Unfortunately, employers across the nation are having a difficult time in filling the vacancies because people aren’t able to pass the drug test.
Effects of opioids on body
The long-term use of opioids can have a devastating effect on just about all of the body parts. Opioids can cause daytime sleepiness for which a stimulant may have to offset the effects. Prolonged use is also associated with the development of major depression. Regular use can lead to slow breathing, respiratory depression, leading to organ failure. Opioid abuse can also be responsible for causing nausea, constipation and for slowing down the gastrointestinal motility, which could lead to perforation, small bowel obstruction and peritonitis.
Opioid use may lead to psychomotor impairment where there is an overall slowing of the physical movements and loss of coordination. Long-term use can also lead to hyperalgesia characterized by an increased sensitivity to pain and can also be responsible for low resistance. People abusing opioids frequently take acetaminophen that could lead to acute liver injury. If alcohol is added to the mix, it may result in liver failure as its capacity for excreting the toxins gets affected.
Seek drug-free life
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), nearly 42,000 people succumbed to opioids in 2016 with 40 percent deaths involving prescription opioids. It is time that health authorities understand the magnitude of the issue and accelerate efforts in combatting the harmful results. Addiction to opioids not just harms the consumer but also his/her family. Before it’s too late, one must look for intervention to set matters straight.