Rising Cost of Opioid Overdose Hospitalization

In the past seven years, the cost of treating opioid overdose victims jumped 58%. In Boston, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center conducted a study finding that between 2009 and 2015, the average cost of care per opioid admission increased from $58,500 to $92,400 last year. Plus, ICU deaths doubled. Opioid overdoses can plummet patients and event hospitals into bankruptcy.

Opioid Overdose

An opioid overdose is a toxicity due to excessive opioids. Examples of opioids include morphine, heroin, fentanyl, tramadol, and methadone. Symptoms include insufficient breathing, small pupils, and unconsciousness. On average, opioid overdoses killed about five people every hour across the U.S. in 2016.

Medical professionals can reverse an overdose quickly with drugs like naloxone. Emergency personnel uses a nasal spray or IV in an ER to administer the drug.  However, overdose victims can still end up in the hospital for days. In cases, it can be weeks. This balloons the cost for patients and hospitals.

Cost of Opioid Overdose

A study in Cook County, Illinois showed this rising cost. On average, their hospitals treat 4,000 to 5,000 opioid patients. This number increased from 1,000 patients in 2006.  As a result, each patient’s bill averaged over $6,000 per overdose. This doesn’t take into account if a patient needs to go to the ICU. Consequently, the average cost to treat overdose patients admitted to hospital intensive care units climbed from $58,517 in 2009 to $92,408 in 2015. This is a nearly 60% increase.

However, these studies involve urban environments. Rural communities are hit far worse. There are fewer doctors, thus making offices spread out. This could be the reason why opioid addiction is higher in these communities since if a patient cannot return every few days for a prescription, the doctor prescribes more pills at a time. Plus, rural areas also have fewer physical therapists to help patients manage pain without narcotics. This coupled with more jobs in the farming sector make rural residents more prone to injury.

When it comes to an opioid overdose, everyone loses.

Holding Manufacturers Responsible

Drug manufacturers lied to us about the addictive nature of opioids, and medical professionals prescribe them. Prescribing these drugs in high doses and for prolonged periods of time can lead to addiction and other devastating injuries. Also, these include, among other adverse side effects, dependence, the craving to seek more drugs, use of other legal painkillers, use of other illegal drugs, and worst of all, overdose and death.

Doctors should only prescribe powerful opioid pain-killers such as fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, or methadone (drugs with common names such as Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin) for short-term, intense pain not to treat chronic pain conditions.

America’s opioid epidemic has affected, injured, or killed tens of thousands of Americans. It’s a national tragedy. All of these injuries could have been prevented. Drug manufacturers of opioid pain-killers have advertised their products as being less addictive than they actually are. Drug manufacturers have sometimes alleged that these drugs are safe to treat chronic pain. This marketing has lured scores of medication users and even doctors, into a false sense of security in using and prescribing such drugs.

Therefore, if you or a loved one was hospitalized because of an opioid overdose, contact us today. We have decades of experience going against pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturers that produce unsafe products.

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