GENERAL FACTS ABOUT ADDICTION

According to the Provincial Auditor for Ontario: for every dollar spent on addiction treatment and prevention today, at least $5.60 will be saved in future associated costs.
Enforcement costs more than 7 times as much as treatment in order to provide the same reduction in cocaine consumption. – Operations Research (RAND)
Drug abuse affects people you know

  • More than 15% of all Canadians have used cocaine/crack, speed, hallucinogens, ecstasy, and/or heroin in their lifetime, and 7% of Canadian youths have used at least one of these drugs in the past year. Drug and Alcohol Use Statistics, Health Canada
  • Addiction affects every socio-economic class more or less in equal proportion. Differences among income groups are not seen in rates of addiction but in the drugs of choice.

Substance abuse effects youth

  • Youth are nine times more likely than adults to use illegal “hard drugs” drugs such as cocaine, and heroin. Drug and Alcohol Use Statistics, Health Canada
  • Alcohol exposure can interfere with adolescent brain development and cause memory loss and other cognitive deficits. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Youth who regularly drink heavily are likely to experience symptoms of poor health early on in adulthood, and are at high risk for developing alcohol dependence. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • The clearest predictor of alcohol dependence in young adults is regular alcohol use in their teens. Addiction (Peer Reviewed Journal)
  • Self reports of drinking and driving among high school students is as high as 20% and as many as 25% have admitted to using cannabis and driving Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • The Ontario Student Drug Use Survey (OSDUS) conducts research with Ontario’s students every two years. The most recent survey, conducted in 2005, shows an increase in drug and alcohol problems reported by students in grades 7 to 12.
  • The 2005 OSDUS also discovered that about 16% of Ontario students reported symptoms of drug dependence, and a similar number reported symptoms of alcohol dependence.

Drug abuse costs everyone

  • About $2.3 billion are spent on drug enforcement in Canada each year.Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Substance abuse costs Ontarians $14 billion a year in health care, criminal justice costs, and through drain on worker productivity. That is $1,200 per capita in Ontario alone! Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Substance abuse costs Canadians as much as $40 billion a year in social costs Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse 
  • Enforcement costs more than 7 times as much as treatment in order to provide the same reduction in cocaine consumption. Operations Research (RAND)
  • Border control costs more than 10 times as much as treatment in order to provide the same reduction in cocaine consumption. Operations Research (RAND)
  • It’s 23 times more expensive to reduce cocaine consumption through persuading Colombian farmers to grow crops other than coca, than it is to provide substance abuse treatment.Operations Research (RAND)
  • For every dollar spent on addiction treatment and prevention today, at least $5.60 will be saved in future associated costs. Report of the Provincial Auditor for Ontario, 1999

Substance abuse is connected with crime

  • 70% of all criminal activity is associated with illicit drugs. Office of the Auditor General of Canada
  • More than 60% of all federal offenders have substance abuse problems.Office of the Auditor General of Canada
  • At least three quarters of all drug shipments would need to be intercepted before the profits from illegal drug trade would begin to be compromised.United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention

Drug abuse harms

  • A person dies of a drug related cause every 14 minutes, making substance abuse the leading cause of accidental death in the US. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • 25% of all drivers who died while driving that were under 19 years of age, tested over the legal limit of blood alcohol content. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
  • Fatal drug overdoses are increasing at an alarming rate. Fatalities cause by prescription painkillers have tripled since 1996. NCHS Data Brief no. 22
  • Between 1994 and 1999, 150 people were killed during biker wars in which gangs were battling over control of the illicit drug trade and other aspects of organized crime. Office of the Auditor General of Canada 

Research from around the world and across Canada repeats the same messages year after year;

  • Addiction treatment is effective
  • Addiction treatment is inexpensive
  • Untreated addiction is a huge cost to our economy and our tax burden

RESEARCH LINKS OF INTEREST

Lisa, Scott Glover and Doug Smith. Los Angeles Times. Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show. September 17, 2011.

Drug and Alcohol Use Statistics, Health Canada. Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS) 2010.

Warner, Margaret, Li Hui Chen, and Diane M. Makuc. (2009) Increase in Fatal Poisonings Involving Opioid Analgesics in the United States, 1996-2006. NCHS Data Brief no. 22.

Rehm J., et al. (2006). The Costs of Substance Abuse in Canada-2002. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Harm Reduction Victoria website.

Illicit Drugs: The Federal Government’s Role. Office of the Auditor General of Canada. (2001).

Belenko, Steven. (2001) Research on Drug Courts: A Critical Review 2001 Update. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Paglia-Boak A., and Edward Adlaf. (2007) Substance use and harm in the general youth population. Substance Abuse in Canada: Substance use and harm in the general youth population. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Bonomo, YG., Bowes, C. Coffey, J. Carlin, G. Patton. (2004) Teenage drinking and the onset of alcohol dependence: a cohort study over seven years. Addiction: vol 99. Issue 12 pp: 1520-1528

The article “The Mental Health and Well-Being of Ontario Students, 1991-2009: Detailed OSDUHS Findings” and “Drug Use Among Ontario Students, 1977-2011: Detailed OSDUHS Findings” can be found here.