Drug Addiction in Oklahoma Costs More than Entire State Budget
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Oklahoma is facing a crisis of drug abuse among its residents. The problem is so widespread that the annual cost of drug addiction is estimated to be $7.2 billion, in a state whose entire government budget is $6.7 billion.
Of the $7.2 billion in costs, about $1.8 billion is directly related to drug abuse, such as spending on hospital care, doctors, police and prisons. Indirect costs account for another $5.4 billion in reduced productivity, work and goods never produced, and the need to hire extra employees to cover for those who miss work, for example.
Last year, about 240,000 people in Oklahoma, or 8%, abused prescription drugs, giving the state the highest mark in the nation, although New Mexico and West Virginia lead in per-capita overdose deaths.
Prescription drugs are responsible for four in five overdose deaths in Oklahoma. The leading causes of drug-related deaths in Oklahoma in 2010 were hydrocodone, oxycodone and alprasolam.
“The bottom line is, we’re witnessing this crisis, this silent cancer that is just growing.” Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, told The Oklahoman.
To Learn More:
Prescription-Drug Overdoses are Major Killer in Oklahoma (by Warren Vieth, Tulsa World)
The Cost of Oklahomans' Addictions (by Jaclyn Cosgrove, The Oklahoman)
State of Addiction: How Oklahoma Tops the Charts for Addictions (Oklahoma Watch)
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