The imposing cost of a single opioid overdose

The cost of a single opioid overdose is significant for both the healthcare system and the patient, according to the MetroWest Daily News. Costs include expensive ancillary services such as ambulance rides, the administration of drugs and inpatient drug treatment programs after a clinical recovery.

In Massachusetts, where slightly more than 2 percent of the U.S. population lives, emergency first responders dealt with 11,884 opioid-related incidents last year, up nearly 90 percent from the 6,315 handled in 2013.

Nationwide, 44 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses, forcing hospitals to remake their treatment guidelines virtually on the fly. Meanwhile, the epidemic is also straining hospital bottom lines. About half of all overdose patients are admitted for inpatient care, and many patients lack healthcare insurance, leaving providers to foot a large part of the annual $2.3 billion bill connected to opioid overdoses.

A single one of those overdoses starts with the cost of first responders, which is $330 for the upkeep of the crew and ambulance (not including charges for the ambulance transport), according to the MetroWest Daily News. If Narcan is administered, that would cost at least $65 a dose, up significantly in recent years.

The article did not delve into a hospital stay or intensive care, which would likely cost tens of thousands of dollars on its own. A bed in a rehab facility to kick the drug habit would run between $16,000 and $20,000. If the patient contracts hepatitis C, which has been raging among intravenous drug users, the cure in the form of the drug Harvoni could cost as much as $94,000.

To learn more:
- read the MetroWest Daily News article