Study shows how much the opioid crisis is costing taxpayers

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The opioid crisis is taking a huge toll on the community in Monroe County, but a new study out Monday shows the enormous burden it has become for taxpayers.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter says there is a big price tag when it comes to opioid overdoses. From the cost of police and EMS response to crime lab testing as well as court and prison costs. Baxter says you can never put a price tag on life but he wanted to get a snapshot of the cost of each opioid overdose in Monroe County.

The study looked into the cost of both fatal and non-fatal overdoses.

“An overdose without a death, there might be Narcan and a quick trip to the hospital, but an overdose with a Narcan there might be a trip to the hospital and the patient might stay five or six days for other complications. You can just imagine the bills adding up very quickly and most of these folks don’t have insurance,” said Baxter.

The sheriff says taxpayers end up footing the bill.

Data from the study showed the average cost of a non-fatal overdose is around $1,976. That involves first responders and investigators. The average cost of a hospital visit is around $2,000. If there are any medical complications the sheriff says that number could rise.

In the cases where a person dies from an overdose, the cost climbs to $3,870 for first responders, crime investigators and services from the medical examiner’s office.

In the courts, the average cost to prosecute an individual is around $1,380. And while they’re in jail, the price tag is $130 a day.

“$17,500 a day to Monroe County taxpayers, to all of us you know, that’s a shocking number when you look at it and a very conservative number,” said Baxter.

According to the sheriff, education, prevention and helping people in the recovery effort are key to lowering these numbers. But he also says the number of overdoses could spike at any moment.

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