Addiction cost governments $467 billion in 2005
Federal, state and local government agencies spent $467.7 billion on substance abuse and addiction-related programs in 2005, according to a new report from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University in New York. Local governments alone spent $93.8 billion on substance abuse that year, which took up 9 percent of their budgets and was more than they spent on transportation and public welfare.
More than 95 percent of the $373.9 billion spent by the federal and state governments went to “shovel up the consequences and human wreckage of substance abuse,” according to CASA’s “Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets.”
“Under any circumstances, spending more than 95 percent of taxpayer dollars on the crime, health care costs, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and other consequences of tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse and addiction, and only 2 percent to relieve individuals and taxpayers of these burdens, is a reckless misallocation of public funds. In these economic times, such upside-down-cake public policy is unconscionable,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s Founder and Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “It’s past time for this fiscal and human waste to end.”
Download the “Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets,” a 287-page report based on three years of research.