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The opioid epidemic hasn’t just had a devastating impact on the lifespan of Americans, but also on the country’s economy. It has cost billions of dollars to the country as a large chunk of the population stayed away from office. This has been corroborated by a recently published study by the American Action Forum (AAF). The drugs had a profound influence on the productivity as almost 1 million people (aged 25 to 54) remained absent from work in 2015 because of their opioid addiction problem, which grew each year from 1999 to 2015.

The study authors calculated that the loss of employees’ productivity took a heavy toll on the economy, costing a complete loss of $702 billion or almost $44 billion loss each year. Co-author Ben Gitis, manager of labor market policy in the AAF, said that there was a loss of work by 0.2 percent in the given period.

Gitis said not just opioids are causing fatalities, they’re majorly hindering the country’s economic growth. He extrapolated the study results of Princeton University economist Alan Krueger, who stated that a decline in labour participation of 20 percent and 25 percent was found for women and men, respectively because of an increase in the prescriptions for painkillers.

Kruger also noted that areas with the maximum number of opioid prescriptions observed a high number of workers dropping off. According to Grtis’s research too, for women, more work hours were lost between 1999 and 2015 (6.4 billion) than men (5.7 billion). Unfortunately, employers across the nation such as Houston Wildlife Control are having a difficult time in filling the vacancies because people are not able to pass the drug test.

The long-term use of opioids can have a devastating effect on just about all the body parts. Opioids can cause daytime sleepiness for which a stimulant might be required to offset the effects. Prolonged use is also associated with the development of major depression. Regular use may result in slow breathing, respiratory depression, leading to organ failure. Opioid abuse can also be responsible for causing nausea, constipation and for slowing down the gastrointestinal motility, which can result in perforation, small bowel obstruction and peritonitis.

Opioid use can result in psychomotor impairment in which there is a general slowing of the physical movements and loss of coordination. Long-term use may also result in hyperalgesia characterized by an increased sensitivity to pain and is also responsible for low resistance. People abusing opioids often take acetaminophen that can result in acute liver injury. If alcohol is added to the mix, it can result in liver failure as its capacity for excreting the toxins gets affected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), nearly 42,000 people succumbed to opioids in 2016 with 40 percent deaths between prescription opioids. It is time that health authorities understand the magnitude of the issue and accelerate efforts in combatting the harmful effects. Addiction to opioids not only harms the consumer but also his or her family. Before it is too late, an individual must look for intervention to set matters straight.

1 Million People Out of Work in 2015

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