Effects of the Opioid Crisis on Healthcare Systems

In addition to the tens of thousands of lives it claims every year, America’s opioid crisis also impacts society at large. A recent study estimates that the true cost of the U.S. opioid epidemic totals more than $1 trillion per year. This accounts for reduced quality of life, productivity loss, involvement with the criminal justice system, and healthcare.1

Read on to learn more about how opioid addiction and the opioid epidemic affects healthcare in America and the state of New Jersey, and ways to get Northeast addiction treatment if you or a loved one has lost control of their drug use.

Addiction’s Effects on Healthcare

Addiction takes a major toll on the healthcare system. People with substance use disorders tend to have numerous physical health issues that require medical management. One healthcare study found that one-third of the most common and expensive medical conditions were most prevalent among individuals with substance use disorders.2

Those who seek treatment for addiction often have other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, or chronic liver disease. Individuals with substance use disorders also tend to engage in risky behaviors that may land them or others in the hospital, such as driving while impaired.2

Adolescents with addiction tend to have more physical health issues, ranging from headaches and insomnia to sexually transmitted diseases and injuries. Adolescents with SUDs also suffer from co-occurring mental health disorders at high rates. These disorders include:2

Opioids & Healthcare in America

Opioid overdoses alone have accounted for a huge burden on the healthcare system in the last decade. In 2021, over 75% of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S. involved opioids, and according to the National Safety Council, Americans are now more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from a car accident.3,4

High opioid overdose rates have strained the healthcare system significantly, especially emergency departments. Those who overdose on opioids are more likely to overdose again, so often the same individual will require emergency services multiple times.5

The Opioid Crisis Statistics & NJ Hospitals

In the state of New Jersey, local statistics on opioid-related hospital visits illuminate how this crisis extends to the healthcare system.

Over the last decade, there were nearly 200,000 drug-related hospital visits in New Jersey. More than 127,000 of those (66%) were opioid-related.6

NJ has just over 20,000 hospital beds across the entire state, but in 2021 alone, there were 19,671 drug-related visits to local hospitals.6,7

Of the state’s total drug-related visits in 2021, more than 12,500 (64%) involved opioids, and 23% of these visits resulted in inpatient stays.6

Camden County has some of the highest rates of drug-related hospital visits in the state. In 2021, an estimated 143 per every 100,000 residents visited the hospital for an issue involving drugs.6

Additionally, more than 2,600 New Jersey residents died of an opioid overdose in 2021.8

Identifying substance abuse issues and addressing them early is essential to alleviating this burden and saving the lives of those struggling with addiction.2

Opioid Epidemic Solutions & Addiction Prevention

In so many ways, directly and indirectly, the healthcare system is overtaxed by the problem of addiction. Early, effective, and integrated treatment for substance use disorders can help to alleviate this problem.9

In the past, substance abuse was looked at as a criminal problem and not a healthcare problem, so preventative services and treatment options were limited.2 Now, the importance of identifying and treating substance use disorders is clearer than ever.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made mental health and substance abuse treatment an “essential health benefit,” recognizing the need to treat these conditions with equal importance as physical medical health conditions and make care accessible for those in need.2

Professionals now understand that substance use disorders, mental health disorders, and medical issues are interrelated. Integrated care that addresses the whole person is required for the long-term health of the individual.

This life-saving approach may reduce the need for future intensive substance abuse treatment and can also help prevent many of the medical issues that are common to those who have lived many years in active addiction.2

Addiction Treatment at Sunrise House in New Jersey

If you or a loved one has lost control of their opioid use, professional addiction treatment can help. At Sunrise House Treatment Center, we offer personalized, evidence-based care designed to meet each person’s individual needs.

Our inpatient rehab in New Jersey also specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders for those struggling with addiction and other mental health conditions at the same time.

If you’re ready to begin the path to recovery, contact us at  to learn more about the different types of addiction treatment we provide. Our staff is available around the clock to answer questions about using insurance to pay for rehab and other ways to pay for rehab and to help you get admitted today.

You can also quickly verify your health insurance coverage by filling out this confidential .

Early and effective intervention for substance use and mental health disorders can lessen the burden on the healthcare system, but most importantly, it can save your life. Don’t wait to rediscover what life can look like without drugs and alcohol.

Call us at to get the support you need and deserve.

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