Addiction to drugs is a problem that affects the addict, their family and society as a whole. While the person who is addicted to meth suffers the pains of addiction, the society and the taxpayer often end up having to shoulder the heavy financial burden.
Methamphetamine use in the U.S has a huge economic cost, to the tune of $23.4 billion in the year of 2005, including costs of addiction, drug treatment, premature death and the many related costs of the drug. The staggering cost of methamphetamine use was calculated by a RAND Corporation study.
The recent figures gathering the national cost of the drug problem is the first effort of its kind in the United States. The lead study author, Nancy Nicosia, stated that the findings showed the there is a huge economic burden related to methamphetamine use.
Methamphetamine addiction carries a high cost to the user, or addict, in terms of quality of life, deteriorating health and premature death. In addition to the tragic costs to the addict, drug abuse comes with a high cost to the public and taxpayers who often end up footing the bill for addiction.
Meth addiction in the United States places a heavy burden on the already cash strapped taxpayer. Because there was uncertainty in estimated the costs of use, researchers created a range of financial estimates that ranged from $16.2 billion to $48.3 billion. Their best estimate of the economic burden of meth use is $23.4 billion.
The Meth Project Foundation is a nonprofit group that funded the study. The group is committed to reducing first time use of meth.
The largest cost category of meth use came from the burden of addiction and an estimate of 900 premature deaths in 2005.
The second largest economic costs came from crime and expenses to criminal justice, including the expense for arresting offenders and incarcerate them. Costs of additional crimes, such as thefts, added to the cost estimates.
The costs of lost productivity and the expenses for having to remove children from the homes of addicts were also included in the estimates.
The cost of production of methamphetamine was also including the in estimate. Producing meth involved use of toxic chemicals that can cause fires and explosions that destroy property and require emergency personnel to respond to. Treatment of injuries suffered by emergency workers and other victims were included in the costs. Hazardous waste removal is also costly to the taxpayer.
Illicit drug use has not only for the addict, but for the whole of society.
Researchers of the RAND study cautioned that understanding of issues regarding methamphetamine are still emerging and costs cannot be qualified adequately yet.
RAND Corporation: Methamphetamine use cost the US about $23 billion in 2005, RAND study extimates, February 4, 2009. EurekAlert
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