RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Health has developed an online calculator to show how much the opioid epidemic has impacted Virginians in lost labor, healthcare, crime and other costs.
According to the calculator, the overall cost of the epidemic in 2020 was $3.5 billion. In 2020, an average of more than four people died of an opioid drug overdose every day in Virginia. The calculator also shows that, in 2020, the epidemic cost the City of Richmond $216 million in total — or an estimated $954 per person.
The opioid cost calculator was developed in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Center on Society and Health. A statement from the VDH explains the hopes that the calculator will also help support ongoing efforts for policy changes at the state and local levels.
“Understanding the impact of opioid addiction is a crucial step,” said State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH. “With this understanding, we move closer to change that will help reduce and prevent opioid-related addiction, injury, and death.”
The project was funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Overdose Data to Action initiative.