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Stat Bull Metrop Insur Co. 1999 Oct-Dec;80(4):2-9.

Costs of alcohol and drug abuse in the United States, 1992. Alcohol/Drugs COI Study Team.


In a study of the economic costs to society of alcohol and drug abuse, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health estimate the cost to be $246 billion in 1992, the most recent year for which sufficient data were available. This estimate represents $965 for every man, woman and child living in the United States in 1992. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism generated about 60 percent of the estimated costs ($148 billion), while drug abuse and dependence accounted for the remaining 40 percent ($98 billion). Prior to this study, the most recent comprehensive estimates of these costs were based on data for 1985. The need to update earlier estimates was driven primarily by the changing culture of substance abuse and the changing nature, extent and treatment of the problem. Over 80 percent of the increase in estimated costs of alcohol abuse can be attributed to changes in data and methodology employed in the new study, suggesting that the previous study significantly underestimated the costs of alcohol abuse. In contrast, over 80 percent of the increase in estimated costs of drug abuse is due to real changes in drug-related emergency room episodes, criminal justice expenditures and service delivery patterns. Estimated costs for alcohol and drug abuse in 1995 were also calculated and were projected to be $276 billion. After adjusting for population growth and inflation, this estimate represents a 12.5 percent increase over the 1992 estimates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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