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Amber Randall

The opioid crisis in 2015 cost almost half a trillion dollars, a number six times greater than latest analysis on the crisis’ cost, the White House said Sunday.

The Council of Economic Advisers puts the true cost of America’s opioid epidemic in 2015 at $504 billion in a study set for a Monday release, reported The Associated Press. The council’s number is larger than previous years because other studies over the years have only measured prescription opioids and didn’t show overdose deaths, the council explained.

“Previous estimates of the economic cost of the opioid crisis greatly underestimate it by undervaluing the most important component of the loss — fatalities resulting from overdoses,” said the report, that added the 2015 number is also higher because the crisis has gotten worse and more people have died from overdoses.

A 2016 study put the cost of the opioid crisis in 2013 at $78.5 billion by studying its impact on health care costs and criminal justice.

President Donald Trump declared a “public health emergency” over the opioid crisis in an October address to the nation, declaring that the country “cannot allow this to continue.”

“This epidemic is a national health emergency. Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now,” he said. “As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”

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