February 28, 2006
The total cost of this dependence to the Alaska economy was estimated to be $738 million during 2003. The report chronicles the costs of alcohol and drug abuse and dependency in the areas of lost productivity, criminal justice and protective services, health care, traffic accidents and public assistance.
Lost productivity, with an estimated cost of $367 million in 2003, occurs when alcohol and other drug abuse results in premature death, reduced efficiency of workers, incarceration for criminal offense and impatient treatment or hospitalization.
Alcohol and other drug abuse are a major cause of traffic crashes in Alaska. The estimated costs including legal fees, property damage, injuries, fatalities and workplace costs is estimated to be $35 million.
In 2003, an estimated 17,400 arrests were attributed to alcohol and other drug abuse. During this same period, 15,800 Alaska residents were victims of drug abuse-related crimes. Costs for associated law enforcement, corrections, legal costs and property damage were nearly $154 million. An additional $59 million was spent on alcohol and drug-related adult and child protective services.
Health care costs attributed to alcohol and other drug abuse result from injury and illness such as cirrhosis of the liver, hypertension and diabetes. Costs including hospital care, residential and outpatient treatment, and pharmaceutical costs are estimated to be $178 million in 2003.
A portion of public assistance expenditures can be attributed to alcohol and other drug abuse. Drug-dependent persons may qualify for public assistance because of reduced income, inability to hold a job, or disability caused by substance abuse. Administrative costs to these programs were an estimated $4.1 million in 2003.
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