Worldwide, as well as in Spain, the use of illegal drugs is among the major contributors to the global burden of disease. Quantifying the costs that illegal drugs impose on society is key in terms of decision-making. The objective of this paper is to estimate the social cost of illicit drug consumption in Catalonia for a specific year, and to establish a methodology to be able to replicate such estimations regularly and monitor properly the impact of national plans. To do that, a cost of illness study was performed. For the estimation of mortality and morbidity costs, we relied on the Attributable Fraction approach. Only public sector costs were included: healthcare and non-healthcare costs. The cost of illegal drug consumption in Catalonia in 2011 was estimated at €326.39 million (0.16% of the Catalan GDP in 2011; 0.15% in 2018). Of the total cost, 82% corresponded to direct costs. Among direct costs, 30.32% corresponded to the penal system, 15.99% to hospitalizations, 13.48% to the police force, 17.19% to pharmacy, 8.34% to treatment in specialized centres, and 5.74% to therapeutic communities, among others. Indirect costs represented 18% of total costs, mostly lost income due to drug-related death. This study has been an opportunity to systematically collect data and think about the potential economic returns that could be achieved from effective policies and programs aimed at reducing the consumption of illegal drugs.
Illegal drugs; Cost of illness; Social costs; National plans
Vella V, Ibáñez N, Segura L, Colom, García-Altés A. Estimación del coste social del consumo de drogas ilegales en Catalunya. Adicciones. 2020 Jul 14;0(0):1421.
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