Any one whose life has been touched by addiction (just about everyone) knows that the cost of addiction goes far beyond what you can put into your calculator. So, looking at a breakdown of what addiction is costing us as a society may not seem to be of much concern. But, when you take all the costs into consideration and it adds up to over $1,000 for every citizen, that’s enough money to get your attention. In other words, a family of 4 pays $4,000 annually to deal with the consequences of addiction…and that’s if addiction is not too close to home.
Obviously, it would seem that we should be doing a better job fighting addiction with that kind of budget. The problem just keeps getting bigger. And, as we try to save $1 it ends up costing us $3. We’re going deeper and deeper into a hole. The only thing that could dig us out is a drastically new approach to dealing with addiction.
The Total Cost of Addiction is Staggering
Total social and health costs of dealing with the consequences of illegal use of drugs in the US has been estimated to be a further $66.9 billion a year.The total social and health costs to US society of dealing with alcohol and illegal drug abuse has been estimated as $167 billion. The US spends around $10 billion a year on supply reduction and $5.5 billion on demand reduction. What this means is that every man, woman and child pays almost $1,000 annually to cover the extra health care, law enforcement, car accidents, crime and lost productivity.
Illegal drugs $66.9 billion
Alcohol $100 billion – including 500 million lost days at work a year
Tobacco $72 billion
If you add the health and social costs of tobacco, the total becomes around $240 billion.
So then, the total costs of illegal drug purchases, and society costs comes to around $100 billion, or 1.5% of GDP.If you add the society costs of dealing with tobacco and alcohol abuse (not including purchase costs), then the total becomes more than $270 billion, or 4% of GDP – more than all America spends on schools or housing.
The article looks at the cost of addiction from every angle. It’s interesting to consider that there is an entire economy that is dependent on maintaining the cycle of addiction. And, it’s not just the obvious people like drug dealers who are benefiting from developing and maintaining customers…also known as addicts.We need to better understand why people become addicted to develop a new approach to dealing with it.
How would you spend your $1,000 to deal with the problem of addiction? Please comment, share or like this post so that we can find a better way to deal with addiction.