Study: Opioid epidemic damaged Long Island economy by $8B in 2017

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A new study shows that the opioid epidemic cost Long Island roughly $8 billion in economic damage in 2017 alone.

The nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute says the Long Island economy lost $22.4 million a day in 2017 due to opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

Experts say that economic loss comes from a wide range of sources, including the cost of treatment and lost productivity.

According to the study, Long Island's opioid crisis did more than $16.5 billion in economic damage in 2016 and 2017. That's around 4.5% of the Island's total gross domestic product.

Substance abuse expert Steve Chassman points to the cost of health care, criminal justice fees, child welfare costs and other factors that played a part in the economic damage.

News 12 spoke with a recovering addict who says he had a series of jobs, but often couldn't show up because of his addiction.

"I could not physically make it," said Ryan Kiser. "My addiction, my substance use disorder would take me to where I couldn't get out of the house, either due to anxiety or just physically."

In 2017, there were 617 overdose deaths caused by opioids on Long Island.

Experts say the financial cost of the opioid epidemic is affecting everyone on Long Island. They say they are hoping this report will help fund more treatment programs.

That includes THRIVE in Hauppauge. Kiser, who is three years sober, workers there as a peer recovery advocate.

"There's hope," said Kaiser. "Reaching out for help is the most important thing you can ever do."

Officials in both Nassau and Suffolk have recently reported drops in deadly opioid overdoses. But experts say more work needs to be done to overcome the epidemic.



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