The United States has focused on opioid overdoses for the past few years. This has led to communities experiencing economic and social hardship. Two of the biggest U.S. pharmacy chains, CVS WBA 0.0%, have announced that they will pay $5 billion each to settle lawsuits in the United States over the use of opioids. The U.S. has suffered a $29 billion loss in productivity, $35 Billion in healthcare costs, and $14.8 Billion in criminal justice costs as a result of this crisis. The related epidemics of drug abuse, death, and poverty have plagued African-American communities over the past decades. They are often overlooked, causing one to wonder how vulnerable they are economic.
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CultureBanx reported that there had been two opioid crises due to disparities in resources, attention, and long-term strategies. This is especially true in the Black community, where opioid abuse has been criminalized but largely ignored. The opioid crisis is a significant reason prescription drug misuse is so dangerous. In 2020, 17% of overdoses were committed by African Americans. KFF reports that Washington, DC has the highest African American opioid-overdose rate, 82.5%.
Overdose deaths have increased by more than 500k in the United States over the past 20 years due to the drug industry. Overdose deaths have risen to record levels of around 80,000 per year in recent years. The government is responsible for less than one-third of the financial costs. The rest falls on the individuals.
The tentative plans would see CVS pay $4.9 billion to local governments and $130 million to Native American Tribes over ten years. Walgreens would pay $4.8 Billion to local governments and $155 Million to tribes in 15 years. The exact amount will depend on how many countries join the deals.
According to NPR, most opioid overdose deaths in the United States (U.S.) were caused by prescription drugs. These pacts will bring the total national count of settlements between governments and companies to over $50 billion.
The opioid crisis does more than increase costs and lower economic productivity. It also prematurely ends lives with a more excellent value than their impact on economic output. Families bear the most significant cost burden due to the loss of earnings from those who have died.
According to a report from the Society of Actuaries, these mortality costs amounted to more than $72 billion in 2018. The average Black family earns less than $40,000 per year. U.S. News analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data revealed that blacks have seen their fatal opioid overdose rates rise by 130% between 2014 and 2017. This is more than twice as hike as the whites’ 61.5% increase over the same period.