Abuse of opioid drugs has cost the U.S. a lot of money in a number of ways. That includes a big impact on business, particularly the construction industry.
The cost of the country’s opioid crisis is estimated to have exceeded $1 trillion from 2001 to 2017, and it’s projected to cost an additional $500 billion by 2020. That’s according to an analysis from Altarum, a nonprofit health research and consulting institute.
The report says the costs of the opioid crisis are borne by individuals in the form of lost wages; the private sector in lost productivity and health care costs; and additional spending on social services and other areas.
The impact is being felt at a variety of workplaces and industries in the Rochester area. Vic Salerno can attest to that. He's the CEO of Victor-basedO’Connell Electric, one of the largest electrical contractors in the United States.
Salerno also is a trustee of the pension and insurance fund for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or IBEW. That union represents many of his workers. He said over the last year, the fund had two claims that each exceeded $250,000, and both were related to opioids. It’s the first time he can remember that kind of scenario.
“It’s obviously a factor and we’re self-insured, so (that’s) a lot of money," Salerno said, "and I can guarantee you, next year, when we renew this insurance, I’m sure the premiums are going to go up substantially.”