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Eur Addict Res. 2009;15(1):56-62. doi: 10.1159/000173010. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

The social costs of alcohol misuse in Estonia.

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Estonian Public Service Academy, Tallinn, and University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.


The aim of this study was to estimate the social costs of alcohol misuse in Estonia in 2006. Using a prevalence-based cost-of-illness approach, both direct and indirect costs were considered, including tangible costs associated with health care, criminal justice, rescue services, damage to property, premature mortality, incarceration, incapability of working due to illnesses, and lower labor productivity. The results show that alcohol misuse cost Estonia more than EUR 200 million in 2006. The costs involved are estimated to represent 1.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP), which is relatively high in comparison with many other countries. In addition, the state receives less receipts from the alcohol excise tax than the costs that it incurs as a consequence of alcohol misuse, which points to the existence of economic inefficiency with respect to the alcohol market. The results of this study suggest that there is definitely a need for further cost-benefit analysis to reach a conclusion regarding the possible utility of government intervention.

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