“Boston Globe” Publishes Managing Principal Alan White’s Letter on the Economic Impact of Opioid Abuse

February 28, 2014

Analysis Group Managing Principal Alan White recently addressed the economic impact of opioid abuse in a letter to the editor published in the Boston Globe . In "Misery Can't Be Quantified, but Fiscal Toll of Opioid Abuse is Measurable" (February 25, 2014), Dr. White discussed the need to balance access to prescription opioids with concerns over potential abuse, as well as the economic impact of such abuse.

"Each year, over 11 million people - 17 times the population of Boston - use painkillers for nonmedical reasons, accounting for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined," Dr. White explained. "We can't put a value on the misery and loss of life, but we can quantify the economic impact: Our research shows that society pays $55 billion in health care, criminal justice, and workplace disruptions annually." In the letter, Dr. White cites prescription drug monitoring programs and tamper-resistant pills as positive steps, but calls for the need for a comprehensive approach to abuse reduction from doctors, communities, policy makers, employers, insurers, and law enforcement.

Dr. White's research on the economic impact of prescription opioid abuse has also been covered in the Boston Business Journal and WGBH .

Read the letter