Additional costs associated with opioid epidemic

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Suspected overdoses caused by opioid use must be reported in a timely manner in Nevada. But there are other medical problems associated with this crisis that are not being talked about, but certainly being experienced by local hospitals and medical facilities nationwide.

Photo: OIGatHHS / youtube

“They don't. The yellowish in their eyes is just a complication. If they can still get up, and get their drugs and they don't have to worry about withdrawals. They are okay,” says Dr. Trudy Larson, Dean of the UNR School of Community Health Sciences.

We do know opioid addicts run a higher risk of developing certain diseases. They include: Hepatitis C, MRSA, Endocarditis, H-I-V, liver failure, sepsis, and Hepatitis B.

While that seems logical, there are costs associated with treating these diseases. The average cost is $50,000 per patient to treat endocarditis.
MRSA costs on average about $60,000 dollars per patient.

And Hepatitis C?

“We have a treatment now which is very cool, and very expensive. At least $90,000 for a course. But it cures. If you are not identified and you don't get that treatment, then you are looking at enormous amounts of money for hospitalization, for liver failure. And a myriad of medications just to keep you alive,” says Dean Larson.

Who pays? Not all addicts are covered by insurance, so hospitals end up picking up the cost and look for reimbursement from the state. And this problem is often a revolving door if the addiction itself is not treated.