The opioid drug problem has reached crisis levels in the United States—in 2015, over 33,000 Americans died of a drug overdose involving opioids.
In a report that cites five articles authored or coauthored by W. Kip Viscusi, CEA finds that previous estimates of the economic cost of the opioid crisis greatly understate it by undervaluing the most important component of the loss—fatalities resulting from overdoses. This paper estimates the economic cost of these deaths using conventional economic estimates for valuing life routinely used by U.S. Federal agencies, which are also based on Viscusi’s work.
One of Viscusi’s articles cited in the report was coauthored with fifth-year Vanderbilt J.D./Ph.D. student, Clayton J. Masterman.