Opioid Epidemic Fueling Hospitalizations, Hospital Costs

(By Shefali Luthra for Kaiser Health News)

Every day, headlines detail the casualties of the nation’s surge in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse: the funerals, the broken families and the patients cycling in and out of treatment. Now, a new study sheds light on another repercussion — how this public health problem is adding to the nation’s ballooning health care costs and who’s shouldering that burden.

The research comes as policymakers grapple with how to curb the increased abuse of these drugs, known as opioids. State legislators in New York, Connecticut, Alaska and Pennsylvania have tried to take action by adding new resources to boost prevention and treatment. In addition, President Barack Obama laid out strategies last month intended to improve how the health system deals with addiction. Read article here….

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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