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First-ever Study to Quantify Societal Costs of Opioid Abuse; Analysis Group Finds Costs to the U.S. Total $9.6 Billion.

BOSTON -- A new study published this month in the Clinical Journal of Pain found that the costs of opioid abuse in the United States represent a substantial economic burden. The study is the first of its kind to examine the costs of such prescription drug abuse from a societal perspective.

Analysis Group, a leading economic consulting firm, co-authored the study alongside researchers from Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services, Outcomes Research (Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs), and Nathaniel Katz, M.D., M.S., of Tufts University School of Medicine and Analgesic Research. Leading the Analysis Group team were Vice Presidents Howard Birnbaum and Alan White, and Managing Principal Paul Greenberg.

After examining national databases from three cost-driver categories, including the healthcare system, the criminal justice system, and the workplace, the study determined that opioid abuse in 2001 cost the United States a total of $8.6 billion (or $9.6 billion in 2005 dollars).

More important, the prevalence of such abuse is on the rise. "Given that the rate of abuse is increasing so fast, there is a high likelihood that the total costs could double or even triple in the next 5 years," said Analysis Group Vice President Howard Birnbaum. "The burden on the U.S. economy and public health could escalate dramatically."

"Little has been done to broadly and systematically address the growing problem of prescription opioid abuse in the United States," said Dr. Nathaniel Katz. "However, a number of initiatives are emerging to address this problem, including new surveillance approaches, the development of abuse-deterrent opioid formulations, and the development of guidelines for physicians and patients to reduce abuse."

The researchers note that while opioids continue to provide needed relief for chronic-pain patients, defining the fine line between prescribed use and intentional abuse of these drugs has become a complex public health problem.

Funding for this study was provided by Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services, LLC, and Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC.

Analysis Group, Inc. ( has provided economic, financial, and business strategy consulting to law firms, corporations, and government agencies for 25 years. The firm has more than 350 professionals, with offices in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, New York, San Francisco, Washington, and Montreal.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 16, 2006
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