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Report: Addiction cost West Virginia estimated $11B in 2019

March 22, 2021 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Treating and addressing drug addiction cost West Virginia an estimated $11.3 billion in one year, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy.

The report, written by economist Jill Kriesky, says the state spent that much in 2019 on issues that stem from the addiction epidemic, including hepatitis, HIV, neonatal abstinence syndrome and an overburdened foster care system, The Herald-Dispatch reported.

Kriesky used the same methodology that was used by the Council of Economic Advisers to the President of the United States in a 2017 analysis of the opioid epidemic across the nation. Her report estimates economic damages from drug-related fatalities in West Virginia were $9.8 billion in 2019.

That’s nearly 15% of the state gross domestic product, the newspaper reported.

The report supports better studies of substance abuse-related issues and data collection and more syringe exchanges and other harm reduction services