Recent study: Opioid epidemic affecting Massachusetts employers

Massachusetts

The misuse of opioid drugs has had a severe impact on businesses across the state.

In one year, Massachusetts employers lost more than $4.8 billion in productivity and healthcare costs relating to opioid usage. 

A study released on Wednesday showed the opioid epidemic has not only made it harder for employers to find workers, but also to keep them as their companies grow. 

In the last seven years, opioids have kept more than 32,000 people from participating in the Massachusetts labor force. Another 143,000 Massachusetts employees have missed more than 2 weeks of work because of pain reliever misuse.

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation which conducted the study said they know the opioid epidemic isn’t about economics, and the real loss has been human lives. 

“While the opioid epidemic is causing considerable cost across all major systems in our state, the primary cost of this crisis is its impact on human lives – and those cannot be calculated.”

In the first six months of 2018, there were 657 opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts. The Department of Public Health predicts there will be at least 300 more by the end of the year. 

Toxicology reports found Fentanyl in 89 percent of all opioid-related overdose deaths, which is a 40 percent increase from 2014.

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