IU Study: Tobacco, opioid addictions cost you $8.2 billion annually

Posted at 4:15 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 17:44:59-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tobacco and opioid addictions are costing you $8.2 billion each year, according to two new studies released on Thursday.

The studies, which were commissioned by the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and conducted by the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI in Indianapolis, examined the impact of opioid and tobacco addiction in the Hoosier state.  The foundation hopes that they will push the state to do more to tackle these problems.

Tobacco use alone has a major financial impact on the state, costing taxpayers, healthcare providers and employers more than $6.8 billion each year.  More than 11,000 Hoosiers die prematurely each year as a result of smoking and more than 1,400 die as a result of secondhand smoke.

Opioid addiction and drug overdoses also place a financial burden on taxpayers, Studies show that Indiana has among the highest rates of opioid use in the nation and ranks 15th nationwide for drug overdose fatalities.

“The prevalence of opioid and tobacco addiction in Indiana should sound alarm bells for state and civic leaders, healthcare providers, employers, and everyday Hoosiers, all of whom bear the cost of these challenges,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, President and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “This research confirms that opioid and tobacco addiction is taking a devastating human toll in Indiana. It also shines new light on the significant economic burden that addiction places on Hoosier communities and taxpayers. For all of these reasons, it’s critical that we as a state make addressing addiction a top priority.”

In mid-September, the foundation, in partnership with the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, will join more than 140 philanthropic leaders across the state to discuss these findings and spotlight potential solutions.