Medical experts warn the opioid epidemic is set to push the nation’s healthcare system into crisis.
The crisis is already threatening the nations health system, as the number of patients dying from opioid-related causes quadrupled in the first six months of the year, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The opioid epidemic has become a public health emergency, with health care providers warning of a “serious public health threat.”
More than 500,000 Americans died from the drug during the first half of 2018, according a recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
That compares to less than half of the U’s deaths from the virus during the same time period.
In the wake of that pandemic, lawmakers have been grappling with the costs of treating the opioid and other opioids, including prescription drugs.
The government has spent nearly $50 billion on treating the pandemic so far, but the number has soared to more than $100 billion.
The CDC estimates that over a third of the nation is on Medicaid, a program for low-income Americans that pays for healthcare for low income families.
Many Medicaid beneficiaries can’t afford to pay their bills and may have limited access to other medical care.
The program also helps cover the costs for opioid-dependent individuals, as well as those who may be hospitalized for opioid overdoses.