The cost of the opioid crisis to governments

The opioid crisis is taking more lives every year than the Vietnam War. It’s also taking a toll on public resources like hospitals, public safety and schools. Millions — billions — of dollars are at stake.

I’ve been writing about this subject for the past year and my stories were noticed by the Minnesota Recovery Corps. They asked me to come out to a conference in October to deliver a talk about how governments are grappling with the crisis.

My main takeaways for the group were:

-          States and local governments don’t really know how much the crisis is costing them.

-          Most are still in the process of figuring out how deep they’re in it.

-          There’s a genuine desire to redirect that money toward prevention and early intervention.

-          But governments also want to make sure that money is going toward evidence-based methods.

-          There’s very little talk of money towards supporting first responders and other front line workers.

Not only did I meet some dedicated people during my time there, I got to hear from those on the front lines about the kind of uphill battle we all face when it comes to this incredible public health epidemic. Thank you to the organizers for having me out and sharing the day with me.

If you have some time, check out the Minnesota Recovery Corp here. An off-shoot of AmeriCorp, the organization is dedicated to expanding access to needed care and to promoting the recovery of individuals trying to overcome opioid addiction and other substance use disorders in the Twin Cities.