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Does The Cost Of Addiction Weigh On Hospital Finances?

Addiction can be draining, physically, mentally, and financially. If these strains happen to each individual struggling with an addiction, then addictions also takes a financial toll on hospitals. As the drug epidemic continues to rise, hospital finances are taking a huge hit.

An Epidemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently stated that the use of prescription medications has become an epidemic. Use of prescription medicines includes teenagers who think they are safer than drugs on the street (which is not true), to elderly people who forget if they took their medication, take more, and overdose. [inline_cta_one] As a result, hospitals and emergency rooms have seen an increase in accidental overdoses. And hospitals have seen an increase in heroin use as well. When a patient is no longer prescribed an opioid (pain medication) from their doctor, they may turn to heroin to try to achieve the same effects they felt with their pain medication.

How Much Does Addiction Cost Us?

Last year, the Stanford University School of Medicine held a study that looked over data from 2010. In that study, which analyzed America’s hospitals nationwide, they found some grim facts. About 68% of all emergency room opioid overdoses were from prescription painkillers. And 16.1% of these emergency room overdoses were from heroin. Half of the study’s patients were admitted to the hospital (an even bigger expense). And, sadly, the cost for inpatient and emergency room visits nationwide due to those drug overdoses was an astounding $2.3 billion! Addiction really has taken a toll on hospital finances. And medicine administered to overcome the overdose and labor take up a large piece of the financial cost.

The Problem Is Not Limited To Illicit Substances

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that we have a prescription medication epidemic. We have hospital financial costs reaching billions of dollars due to drug addiction and overdoses. And we even have more people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. And there is a large number of people pushing for the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. Legalizing marijuana could potentially lead to even further overdoses and emergency room visits and increased healthcare costs. [inline_cta_one]

What Can Be Done?

Because there are so many trips to the emergency room and so many are admitted to the hospital because drug overdoses, some communities have adopted a new program. Some places are now allowing their first responders to treat patients with an inhalant version of naloxone. After the naloxone is administered, the patient can then arrive at the hospital in a more stabilized condition, rather than arriving in a state of emergency. This does help cut down on costs a little, but naloxone has increased in price from $20 per dose to $40 per dose due to the increase in demand. This increased dosage price may deter some communities from using the drug. However, allowing first responders to administer the drug in the first place is a step towards lowering costs. Another step that can be taken is educating the public on seeking treatment for their drug or alcohol addiction before suffering from an overdose or another serious injury. Seeking inpatient treatment and counseling for your drug or alcohol addiction will be better for everyone involved, both health-wise and financially. And finally, we need to educate others on the dangers of drugs. With all this talk about legalizing marijuana and its increased acceptance, it’s no wonder that an increasing number of teenagers and adults are becoming addicted to drugs. Legalizing harmful substances also desensitizes us to the dangers of drug use. We need to be teaching prevention in our communities and not praising the legalization (or potential legalization) of such a harmful substance.

Help Is Available Now

Struggling from a drug or alcohol addiction is tough, but help is available. We want to help you gain your life back. Your life is priceless, so reach out right now. Contact us at Vertava Health. Don’t be another statistic. Every person deserves a second chance and you have the power to fight your addiction and win. And we’re here to help. Act now.