SUBSTANCE USE AFFECTS MORE THAN CANADIANS’ HEALTH. IT ALSO HAS A BIG IMPACT ON OUR ECONOMY.

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In a new study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction and the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, it is estimated that the overall cost of substance use in Canada was $38.4 billion in 2014. That amounts to approximately $1,100 for every Canadian regardless of age.

Substance use is a significant cost to the Canadian economy.

It has a direct impact on the healthcare and criminal justice systems as well as an indirect economic impact through lost productivity illness, injury and premature death.

 

With a better understanding of the economic, health and social costs of substance use in Canada — supported by comparable, valid and up-to-date data — federal and provincial/territorial public health experts will be able to:

Lost Productivity

Prioritize and target relevant public policies
Healthcare

Create initiatives to target the harms caused by substance use
Criminal Justice

Identify information gaps, research needs and refinements to be made to national data reporting systems
Other Direct Costs

Establish a baseline for measuring changes in policy and determining the effectiveness of harm-reduction programs

Objectives of This Project

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) and the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR)had two main objectives for the Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms project:

Provide updated data on the costs of substance use in Canada

The Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms report provides estimates of the costs of substance use in Canada from 2007 to 2014.

 

Launch an interactive data visualization tool (Coming Fall 2018).

The Tool allows for ongoing monitoring and in-depth exploration of the harms and costs of substance use over time. The methods behind this tool build on the work of CISUR’s alcohol and other drug AOD monitoring project.

 

Snapshot of Findings

In 2014,

  • The overall cost of substance use was $38.4 billion, which amounts to approximately $1,100 for every Canadian regardless of age.
  • Almost 70% of the total costs were due to alcohol and tobacco.
  • The four substances associated with the largest costs were:
Alcohol

Alcohol ($14.6 billion or 38.1% of the total cost)
Tobacco

Tobacco ($12.0 billion or 31.2% of the total cost)
Opioids

Opioids ($3.5 billion or 9.1% of the total cost)
Cannabis

Cannabis ($2.8 billion or 7.3% of the total cost)
 
  • The distribution by cost type was as follows:
Lost Productivity

Lost productivity ($15.7 billion or 40.8% of the total cost)
Healthcare

Healthcare costs ($11.1 billion or 29.0% of the total cost)
Criminal Justice

Criminal justice costs ($9.0 billion or 23.3% of the total cost)
Other Direct Costs

Other Direct Costs ($2.7 billion or 7.0% of the total cost)
 
  • Per-person costs were highest in the three territories
Yukon

Yukon
Northwest TerritoriesNorthwest Territories
NunavutNunavut

 

Between 2007 and 2014,

  • The per-person costs associated with SU increased 5.5% from $1,025 per person in 2007 to approximately $1,081 in 2014
  • The per-person costs associated with alcohol use increased by 11.6% from $369 per person to $412 per person
  • Per-person costs increased by 19.1% for cannabis ($67 to $79) and 6.8% for tobacco ($315 to $337)
  • Per-person costs decreased by 24.6% for cocaine ($84 to $63) and by 17.9% for other substances ($20 to $16)

Please click image to download full report:

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