News Article:
Drug Abuse Costs to Society

NIDA Infofact

A study prepared by The Lewin Group for the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimated the total economic cost of ALCOHOL and DRUG ABUSE to be $245.7 billion for 1992. Of this cost, $97.7 billion* was due to DRUG ABUSE. This estimate includes SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT and prevention costs as well as other healthcare costs, costs associated with reduced job productivity or lost earnings, and other costs to society such as crime and social welfare. The study also determined that these costs are borne primarily by governments (46 percent), followed by those who ABUSE DRUGS and members of their households (44 percent).

The 1992 cost estimate has increased 50 percent over the cost estimate from 1985 data. The four primary contributors to this increase were (1) the epidemic of heavy cocaine use (2) the HIV epidemic (3) an eightfold increase in state and Federal incarcerations for DRUG offenses, and (4) a threefold increase in crimes attributed to DRUGS.

More than half of the estimated costs of DRUG ABUSE were associated with DRUG-related crime. These costs included lost productivity of victims and incarcerated perpetrators of DRUG- related crime (20.4 percent); lost legitimate production due to drug-related crime careers (19.7 percent); and other costs of DRUG-related crime, including Federal DRUG traffic control, property damage, and police, legal, and corrections services (18.4 percent). Most of the remaining costs resulted from premature deaths (14.9 percent), lost productivity due to DRUG-related illness (14.5 percent), and healthcare expenditures (10.2 percent).

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)** conducted a study to determine how much money is spent on illegal DRUGS that otherwise would support legitimate spending or savings by the user in the overall economy. ONDCP found that, between 1988 and 1995, Americans spent $57.3 billion on DRUGS, broken down as follows: $38 billion on COCAINE, $9.6 billion on HEROIN, $7 billion on MARIJUANA, and $2.7 billion on other illegal DRUGS and on the misuse of legal DRUGS.

* This estimate includes illicit drugs and other drugs taken for non-medical purposes. It does not include nicotine.

Highlighted and bolded phrases in article have been edited slightly for "Motori de Cautare"

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