The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction partnered with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research to examine substance use’s economic impact on Canadian society.
Their report, Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms looked at data from 2007 to 2014 and estimated that substance use costs Canada $38 billon annually.
The report examined overall costs of substance use in four areas: productivity, healthcare, criminal justice and other direct costs.
The greatest losses to Canadian society were felt in lost productivity. Nearly $16 billion was the estimated lost value of work due to premature mortality, long-term disability and short-term disability (absenteeism and impaired job performance).
Healthcare-related substance use costs amounted to over $11 billion or $345 per person in Canada. Alcohol and tobacco use contributed over 90 percent of these healthcare-related costs.
“I think most people would be surprised to know that alcohol and tobacco are killing ten times more people than the other illicit drugs combined,” said Tim Stockwell, the report’s co-authors and a director with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at the University of Victoria.
Criminal justice costs include those associated with police work, courts and corrections. Included in the calculations are expenditures for criminal offences that are entirely attributable to substance use. These amounted to $9 billion.
The research also highlighted deaths related to particular substances. Alcohol use caused 14,827 deaths in 2014. Tobacco use caused 47,562 deaths and opioids caused 2,396 deaths.
To read the full report please visit the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction website.