Societal costs of illicit drug use were $193 billion in 2007, according to a report out this spring from the National Drug Intelligence Center, part of the federal Department of Justice. Included were costs due to crime ($61 million), health costs ($11 billion), and productivity costs ($120 billion).
Public costs of specialty treatment totaled $3.3 billion: $650 million for methadone programs, $1 billion for other outpatient programs, $1.2 billion for residential programs, and $465 million for detoxification. These figures apply to treatment for what the report calls “illicit drug use,” which includes heroin use and prescription drug misuse.
The report also looks at the difference between “instrumental offenses”–such as larceny committed by a heroin addict in order to purchase drugs—with “related offenses,” such as murder committed while under the influence of a drug like cocaine. The report categorizes instrumental offenses as those that would not have occurred absent the addiction—in other words, the heroin addict would not have stolen if he or she had not had to purchase illicit drugs.
For the report, The Economic Impact of Illicit Drug Use on American Society, go to http://staging3.atforum.com/documents/economicimpact.pdf.