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Alcohol and drug abuse cost Alaska’s economy $1.2  billion


November 07, 2012
Wednesday PM

(SitNews) -  Alcohol  and  drug  abuse  took  a  heavy  toll  on  Alaska’s  economy  in  2010,  according  to  a  new  report  from  McDowell  Group,  funded  by  the  Advisory  Board  on  Alcoholism  and  Drug  Abuse,  Alaska  Mental  Health  Board,  and  the  Alaska  Mental  Health  Trust  Authority.   

The  total  estimated  costs  for  2010  attributable  to  alcohol  and  drug  abuse  was  $1.2  billion.  Costs  by  category  include:   

•  $673.2  million  in  productivity  losses,  
•  $50.5  million  in  traffic  crash  costs,   
•  $217.7  million  in  criminal  justice  and  protective  services,   
•  $237.3  million  in  health  care,  and   
•  $13.2  million  in  public  assistance  and  social  services.   

“This  report  puts  the  devastating  impact  of  substance  abuse  on  our  state  into  concrete  terms,”  said  Kate  Burkhart,  executive  director  of  the  Alaska  Mental  Health  Board  and  Advisory  Board  on  Alcoholism  and  Drug  Abuse.  “It  will  inform  public  policy  and  help  us  measure  the  effectiveness  of  state  and  community  prevention,  treatment,  and  recovery  programs.”  

An  estimated  21,000  Alaskans  age  12  and  older  are  dependent  upon  alcohol,  according  to  the  2011  Alaska  Scorecard.  Of  the  estimated  16,951  Alaskan  adults  experiencing  serious  substance  use  disorders  (abuse  of  drugs  and  alcohol),  42.8%  are  low-income.  The  State  of  Alaska  spent  over  $35  million  in  2010  to  provide  substance  abuse  treatment  and  recovery  services  to  low-income  Alaskans.  An  additional  $11  million  supported  community  substance  abuse  prevention  programs  in  2010.  In  2012,  $9  million  in  one-time  capital  funds  was  approved  for  substance  abuse  treatment  and  prevention  services  over  the  next  three  years.  

“This  report  puts  in  sharp  relief  the  contrast  between  the  costs  of  alcohol  and  substance  abuse  and  the  resources  available  to  mtigate  their  disastrous  effects,”  said  Jeff  Jessee,  chief  executive  officer  for  the  Alaska  Mental  Health  Trust  Authority.  “If  we  do  not  make  appropriate  resources  available  for  those  who  want  help  when  they  ask  for  it,  then  we  are  taking  recovery  off  the  table.”   

McDowell  Group  did  this  2012  update  of  2009  data  using  new  data  when  available  as  well  as  statistical  estimation  techniques.  The  report  explores  the  economic  impact  of  substance  abuse  on  businesses  and  employers,  public  safety,  and  social  services   from  all  populations,  not  just  low-income  populations.  The  report  does  not  attempt  to  quantify  the  substantial  intangible  emotional  costs  to  Alaskan  families  and  communities  caused  y  substance  abuse.   



On the Web:

Read  the  report  in  its  entirety


Source of News: 

Alaska Mental Health Board

Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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