Human Impact

The Impact of the Opioid Epidemic on Our Economy

While opioid use disorder is having a devastating effect on families and communities, it is also weighing heavily on the Massachusetts economy, our workforce, and our ability to compete in the global marketplace. According to a national study, opioid use disorder has cost the United States $1 trillion dollars since 2001 and will add another $500 billion by 2020.  The Center for Disease Control estimates that the opioid epidemic is costing Massachusetts $10 billion a year in health care costs, lost productivity, and other factors. At the same time, one million people in this country are not working due to opioid use disorder, according to a report by the American Action Forum. And, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 55 percent of people with an opioid addiction are employed, increasing health care costs for employers. While RIZE is working with the private sector to raise resources to invest in solutions, we are also leading the business community in efforts to gather data on the impact of the opioid crisis on the workforce and economy to better inform public policy and encourage more companies to contribute resources to ending the epidemic.


The Massachusetts Opioid Epidemic:  An Issue of Substance.  Massachusetts Taxpayer’s Foundation

RIZE awarded a grant to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation to create a first-of-its-kind report that quantifies the negative economic impact of the opioid epidemic on the economy. The report includes important information on the cost of the epidemic to employers and employees, the health care system, and state and municipal budgets.



Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Small and Rural Communities in Western Massachusetts.  Massachusetts Health Policy Forum

A report from the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum at Brandeis University details the unique challenges facing Western Mass communities in the fight against opioids, and offers support for innovative and proven solutions.  The findings were presented at a forum at UMass Amherst.

Opioids in the Workforce.  Massachusetts Health Policy Forum

To create more data and information on the impact of the opioid epidemic on the Massachusetts economy, RIZE provided the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum at Brandeis University a grant to create a report and hold a forum on the effects of the opioid epidemic on the Massachusetts workforce.  The report features best practices and recommendations for employers.