News Releases

In 2016, the opioid crisis cost Washington state over $9 billion

Opioid-related deaths by far the biggest cost

Report precedes Tuesday committee hearing on Senator Murray’s Opioid Crisis Response Act

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, released a new report on the economic impact of the opioid crisis in Washington state. The analysis, modeled after a national analysis conducted by the Council for Economic Advisers, found that in in 2016 alone the opioid crisis cost Washington state over $9 billion in fatalities, health care spending, addiction treatment, criminal justice, and lost productivity.

The largest economic impact of the crisis in Washington state was opioid-related fatalities, which cost the state $7 billion in 2016. From 2012-2016 the total economic cost of opioid-related fatalities in Washington was over $34 billion.

“This new analysis shows just how much our communities are losing economically as they work to face the many challenges of the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Murray. “And while we can show that opioid-related deaths cost billions to Washington state, we also know that no calculation can show the loss each one of those tragedies meant to families and loved ones across our state. I’m going to keep fighting for solutions that can help fight addiction and save lives.”

The new analysis was released as the Senate health committee prepares to vote on the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, which Senator Murray introduced with Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). The legislation builds on Senator Murray’s efforts to provide communities the resources they need to respond to the crisis, and reflects priorities Senator Murray has heard in communities across Washington state during visits with patients, families, medical providers and community leaders over the past few years.

(More details on tomorrow’s Senate health committee hearing on the Opioid Crisis Response Act HERE.)

For more on the cost of the opioid crisis in Washington state, see the analysis HERE.

Learn more about the methodology of the new analysis HERE.