Costs of Prescription Drug Abuse

The prescription drug abuse problem in America has become out of control and the cost of dealing with the problem is more than anyone might of thought. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud reports that Medicare and private health insurance companies pass on the cost of prescription drug abuse to consumers by raising their premiums.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud states the cost of prescription painkiller abuse for insurers is $72.5 billion, according to a 2007 report. These costs stem from emergency room visits, rehabilitation, and associated health problems, CNN Money reports.

The coalition says the average “doctor shopper” costs insurers between $10,000 and $15,000 per year. People who go from one doctor to the next in a given time frame are one of the major causes of prescription narcotics getting into the wrong hands.

“There’s no doubt that this is a growing cost to society,” Kevin Sabet, a former senior advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told CNN Money. “We’re in the midst of an epidemic, and it’s really time for America to wake up.”

The Clinical Journal of Pain published a study in 2011 which found prescription drug abuse led to $42 billion in costs related to lost productivity and $8.2 billion in criminal justice costs.

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