The Fiscal Policy Institute’s new report “The Staggering Cost of Long Island’s Opioid Crisis” revealed the economic impact of this health crisis and how the financial burden is borne by all of us: as taxpayers, consumers, and businesses. While the devastating personal costs of addiction have always been clear, the report shows just how significant the effect has been on Long Island’s economy through lost productivity, and other costs to businesses, emergency services, libraries, and others. On Long Island, the opioid-related health crisis resulted in a staggering $8.2 billion in economic damage in 2017.
Funded by grants from the Long Island Community Foundation and the Claire Friedlander Family Foundation, and made public during National Recovery Month, FPI’s report moves the issues of addiction from the personal to the public by showing how interconnected and inescapable this health crisis is.
Here is a sample of the facts highlighted by the report:
- The opioid crisis has caused Long Island $8.2 billion in economic damage in 2017 – 4.5 percent of Long Island’s gross domestic product (GDP) of $182.5 billion in 2017.
- In 2017 Long Island’s total private sector healthcare costs associated with opioids amounted to $172 million.
- Suffolk County: private health care cost $117 million, lost productivity cost $136 million.
- Nassau County: private health cost $55 million; lost productivity cost $64 million.
Read the report: The Staggering Cost of Long Island’s Opioid Crisis and the fact sheet.
Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Executive:
“The opioid epidemic did not just happen overnight, it was the result of a sophisticated effort by a slew of drug manufacturers, retailers, distributors and individuals to put profit over people. And as this report outlines, not only has this crisis affected our community by taking young lives too soon and ripping families apart, but it has significantly impacted our economy. We are committed to end this epidemic once and for all by bringing all stakeholders to the table.”
Senator Phil Boyle:
“The “Staggering Cost” report clearly demonstrates that the opioid crisis has brought not only personal tragedy to Long Island but cost our local economy billions of dollars. The study should spur all levels of government to recommit ourselves to ending this deadly scourge.”
Senator Anna Kaplan, Chair of the NYS Senate Committee on Commerce, Small Business, and Economic Development:
“We are all profoundly aware of the devastating personal impacts of the addiction crisis on our families and communities, and with this new report, we now better understand the incredible impact of this crisis on Long Island’s economy. This data should send a strong message to anyone questioning the need for further investment in treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention efforts, and it’s a reminder for those of us working to address this crisis that it continues to pose an existential threat to Long Island communities.”
Attorney General Tish James:
“The opioid epidemic has ravaged American communities across our nation, and, unfortunately, Long Island has not been immune,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed the nation’s most extensive lawsuit against the manufacturers, Sackler Family, and distributors of opioids for their role in this national epidemic. “Almost 4,000 Long Islanders have lost their lives to the opioid crisis, and more than 45,000 more are living with opioid addiction today. Long Island has not only seen this death and destruction firsthand, but this crisis has cost our local communities billions of dollars, while massively straining hospital networks and other health care providers. We must work together as a community to put out this national fire, and we must hold the company and family responsible for this epidemic financially accountable. I want to thank our partners at LICF and across Long Island for their important work measuring the economic impact of the opioid crisis.”
Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, Fiscal Policy Institute:
“This report shows that a healthy economy requires a healthy community and without a solid foundation, you can’t grow for the future. We cannot continue to view addiction as a personal problem, it is a community problem and we hope this report spurs us on to work collectively to address this costly epidemic.”
Jonas Shaende, Chief Economist, Fiscal Policy Institute:
“While states constantly look for new ideas to create economic growth, our research shows that one way to stimulate growth would be to focus on the health of the community. Without a healthy workforce, businesses will continue to be hamstrung by productivity losses and other health-related costs. Addiction is not just a physical ailment hurting the lives of our community members, it is a disease that affects every facet of life in a community and blights the future.
Shamier Settle, Policy Analyst, Fiscal Policy Institute:
“Through rigorous analysis of the Centers for Disease Control data, this report by the Fiscal Policy Institute takes the first step at beginning to find data-driven solutions to the opioid crisis for Long Island and New York State.
David Okorn, Executive Director, Long Island Community Foundation:
“Thousands of Long Island’s families and businesses have been negatively affected by the opioid overdose crisis. And beyond the tremendous human toll, this comprehensive report identifies the overwhelming economic and societal costs of opioid abuse, including increased criminal justice, health care, and substance abuse treatment expenses. The loss of productivity is hurting our businesses – large and small alike. It is imperative that business leaders and owners recognize this crisis and take a proactive approach to minimizing the potential negative effects on our region’s workers and their families. The Long Island Community Foundation calls on the business community to join philanthropy to address this epidemic.”
Peter Klein, Claire Friedlander Family Foundation:
“The Foundation saw this epidemic as something we needed to get our arms around and we partnered with LICF to allocate our philanthropic dollars to doing just that but we cannot do it alone—we need the investment of employers and business groups and the coordinated efforts of law enforcement, nonprofit and civic leaders, and elected officials.“
Hon. DuWayne Gregory, Presiding Officer, Suffolk County Legislator:
“The opioid crisis has hit home for all of us, whether you have suffered personally, you know someone who has suffered, or as this report shows, you have unknowingly paid the price economically. We must continue to address this crisis head on with targeted policies that provide the necessary resources for educational, preventative, rehabilitation and recovery programs to keep our residents safe. I thank the nonprofit community and institutes like the Long Island Community Foundation for their continued dedication to driving change. Together, we will continue the fight to combat the pervasive opioid epidemic.”
Hon. Kara Hahn, Legislator, Suffolk County
“As anyone who has or is struggling with an addiction knows, the physical and emotional costs of winning this battle are enormous. Now, with the release of this report, we have a clearer understanding of the true economic cost this epidemic has placed on our region, ” said Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn who has spearheaded several initiatives to reduce overdose deaths in the county including its landmark police department Naloxone policy and a drug awareness training curriculum for school athletic personnel. “I thank the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, and its Executive Director Steven Chassman, for all of the work required to quantify the suffering that has been inflicted by the ongoing opioid crisis and how it ultimately costs each of us.”
Hon. Sarah Anker, Legislator, Chairperson of the Suffolk County Opiate Advisory Panel:
Suffolk County was the third municipality in the country to sue the pharmaceutical companies for their role in contributing to the opioid epidemic, and these companies should be held accountable financially for their actions in contributing to this epidemic. The epidemic has created an economic strain on many county agencies including our police department, health department and Department of Social Services. As chair of the county’s Opioid Advisory Panel, I thank the many advocates and agencies that have stepped up to provide additional resources in combating the war on addiction.
The Fiscal Policy Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and education organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of all.
Since 1978, the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) has been the home of charitable Long Islanders who share a passion and commitment to improving their communities. LICF supports an array of effective nonprofits that help make Long Island a vital and secure place to live, learn, work, and play while building permanent resources for the future. The Foundation has made nearly $180 million in grants from hundreds of funds established by individuals, families, and businesses. LICF is a division of The New York Community Trust, one of the country’s oldest and largest community foundations.
LICADD’s mission is to address the addictive climate of our times by providing initial attention and referral services to individuals, families, and children, through intervention, education and professional guidance to overcome the ravages of alcohol and other drug-related problems.