National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

The costs of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug abuse to Australian Society in 2004/05

Appendix A, Demographic estimates

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Use of aetiological fractions and demographic data to estimate the additional numbers of Australian males and females who would have been alive and enumerated in the Australian population in June 2005 had there been no use of illicit drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

This appendix was written by J.H. Pollard, Emeritus Professor of Actuarial Studies,

Macquarie University, who undertook the demographic calculations for this study.

Introduction

The results of the calculations are shown in the attached tables. In each case:

Column (1) indicates the relevant age group;

Column (2) lists the mid-year 2005 population as estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics;

Column (3) lists the estimated mid-year population, had there been no use at any time of illicit drugs (but alcohol and tobacco were used at the same historic levels);

Column (4) lists the numbers of additional persons who would still be alive had there been no use of illicit drugs at any time; Column (4) = Column (3) - Column (2);

Column (5) lists the estimated mid-year population had there been no use of either illicit drugs or alcohol at any time (but tobacco was used at the same historic level);

Column (6) lists the numbers of additional persons who would still be alive had there been no use of alcohol at any time; Col. (6) = Col. (5) - Col. (3);

Column (7) lists the estimated mid-year population had there been no use of illicit drugs, alcohol or tobacco at any time;

Column (8) lists the numbers of additional persons who would still be alive had there been no use of tobacco at any time; Col. (8) = Col. (7) - Col. (5).

We note from column (7) that, in the absence of the use of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco, the 2005 male population would be 3.5 per cent higher than it is estimated to have been, and that the 2005 female population would be 1 per cent higher.

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The data

The aetiological fractions used in this report are those presented in English, Holman et al. (1995), Ridolfo and Stevenson (2001), and by Codde in Appendix C of this report. For the purposes of this projection, the first set of aetiological fractions are assumed to apply prior to 1988 (but without illicit drug deaths prior to 1962) and those of Ridolfo and Stevenson in 1998, with intermediate fractions for the period 1989–1997. Those of Codde are assumed to apply in 2006, with intermediate fractions from 1999 and 2005.

The other data used in the calculations are as follows: These demographic data were all available from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publications.

Method

Using the base 1947 population, the history of births, the above-mentioned life tables and the representative migration numbers, it was possible to project forward the Australian population from 1947 to 2005. The resultant estimates for 2005 were close to those provided by ABS.

The projection program was then re-run with modifications to the assumed rates of mortality to reflect the situation which would have existed had there been (a) no illicit drug use, (b) no illicit drug use nor alcohol use, and (c) no illicit drug use, nor alcohol use nor tobacco use.

All calculations were performed using single years of age. The reported results are in five-year age groups.

As in previous reports, no attempt was made to quantify the births that did not take place because of lives lost through drug usage.

Adjustment of the mortality rates

Using the aetiological fractions described above and applying them to the relevant causes of death identified by the same authors, it is possible to estimate the proportions of deaths at each age attributable to illicit drug use, to alcohol use and to tobacco use. These proportions were then applied to the mortality rates in earlier epochs to determine the modified mortality rates for use in the various computer program runs described above. Normal multiple-decrement table formulae were used to calculate the modified rates.

This approach can be criticised on several counts. First, it is doubtful whether exactly the same fractions applied in earlier years, since usage of these drugs has changed over time, and other factors have had major impacts on the numbers dying from the various causes (road accident deaths, for example, have halved in the last decade, as a result of various measures, and circulatory system disease mortality has declined remarkably, presumably as a result of a number of lifestyle and medical changes). Second, the aetiological fractions ought to be applied to the deaths by cause in earlier epochs to derive mortality proportions relevant to those times. This second objection can be addressed, but any improvement in accuracy is likely to be spurious, because of the serious nature of the first limitation.

It is important to note that the current Australian Burden of Disease (ABOD) study (see Begg et al., 2007) reports a substantially lower health benefit due to alcohol compared with the previous study, with only an estimated 2,346 deaths being saved by alcohol in 2003, compared with 7,157 deaths saved in 1996. According to the authors of the current ABOD report, the previous study incorrectly estimated the number of people who abstain from alcohol or drink less than 0.25 drinks per day. In the absence of corrected aetiological fractions for the mid 1990s, the original fractions were incorporated in the projection as described above, and as a result the net numbers of alcohol-related deaths are believed to be underestimated. Further discussion of the issue and consequences is given in the main body of this report in the section "Changes in alcohol attributable fractions".

In the absence of equivalent aetiological fractions for all earlier epochs, the above approach was considered the most reliable.

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Table 51, The impact of drug abuse upon the Australian male population

Age group
Mid-year population
Mid-year population – no illicit drug abuse
Additional population – no illicit drug abuse
Mid-year population – no alcohol drug abuse
Additional population – no alcohol abuse
Mid-year population – no tobacco abuse
Additional population – no tobacco abuse
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
0
654,879
654,889
10
654,921
32
655,066
145
5
676,395
676,418
23
676,478
61
676,814
335
10
714,009
714,038
29
714,129
92
714,607
478
15
720,491
720,545
54
720,803
258
721,702
898
20
746,088
746,301
213
747,226
924
748,880
1,655
25
706,314
706,972
658
709,122
2,149
712,169
3,047
30
738,918
740,332
1,414
744,510
4,178
749,826
5,316
35
754,177
756,142
1,965
762,142
6,000
769,750
7,608
40
759,679
762,164
2,485
770,188
8,023
780,483
10,296
45
741,193
743,730
2,537
752,718
8,989
765,024
12,305
50
671,491
673,843
2,352
683,228
9,385
697,653
14,425
55
642,234
644,315
2,081
653,954
9,639
671,763
17,808
60
498,115
499,601
1,486
507,437
7,836
526,378
18,940
65
393,033
394,095
1,062
400,853
6,758
425,004
24,152
70
304,612
305,290
678
310,699
5,409
341,372
30,673
75
255,297
255,717
420
259,471
3,753
299,906
40,435
80
169,493
169,672
179
170,371
698
208,991
38,620
85
111,000
111,074
74
107,426
-3,648
146,933
39,508
Total
10,257,418
10,275,139
17,721
10,345,676
70,537
10,612,320
266,644
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Table 52, The impact of drug abuse on the Australian female population

Age group
Mid-year population
Mid-year population – no illicit drug abuse
Additional population – no illicit drug abuse
Mid-year population – no alcohol drug abuse
Additional population – no alcohol abuse
Mid-year population – no tobacco abuse
Additional population – no tobacco abuse
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
0
620,286
620,291
5
620,303
12
620,386
83
5
642,855
642,876
21
642,900
25
643,119
219
10
676,901
676,924
23
676,963
39
677,285
322
15
684,928
684,959
31
685,050
91
685,601
551
20
707,341
707,446
105
707,725
279
708,522
797
25
685,650
685,881
231
686,448
567
687,678
1,230
30
741,858
742,228
370
743,196
967
745,023
1,828
35
760,402
760,843
441
762,210
1,367
764,720
2,510
40
764,490
765,056
566
767,027
1,970
770,491
3,464
45
748,927
749,531
604
751,858
2,326
756,139
4,281
50
680,722
681,301
579
683,814
2,512
688,880
5,067
55
643,087
643,635
548
646,366
2,731
652,650
6,284
60
489,951
490,385
434
492,768
2,383
499,262
6,494
65
398,737
399,097
360
401,166
2,069
409,538
8,372
70
329,759
330,011
252
331,467
1,456
342,159
10,692
75
302,950
303,125
175
303,566
441
318,345
14,780
80
242,233
242,338
105
240,880
-1,458
256,841
15,961
85
226,993
227,040
47
216,353
-10,687
232,100
15,747
Total
10,348,070
10,352,967
4,897
10,360,058
7,091
10,458,739
98,681

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Table 53, The impact of drug abuse upon the Australian male and female population

Age group
Mid-year population
Mid-year population – no illicit drug abuse
Additional population – no illicit drug abuse
Mid-year population – no alcohol drug abuse
Additional population – no alcohol abuse
Mid-year population – no tobacco abuse
Additional population – no tobacco abuse
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
0
1,275,165
1,275,180
15
1,275,223
44
1,275,452
229
5
1,319,250
1,319,293
43
1,319,379
85
1,319,933
554
10
1,390,910
1,390,961
51
1,391,092
131
1,391,892
800
15
1,405,419
1,405,504
85
1,405,853
349
1,407,302
1,449
20
1,453,429
1,453,747
318
1,454,950
1,203
1,457,402
2,452
25
1,391,964
1,392,853
889
1,395,570
2,716
1,399,846
4,277
30
1,480,776
1,482,561
1,785
1,487,706
5,145
1,494,849
7,143
35
1,514,579
1,516,985
2,406
1,524,352
7,368
1,534,470
10,117
40
1,524,169
1,527,221
3,052
1,537,214
9,993
1,550,974
13,760
45
1,490,120
1,493,261
3,141
1,504,576
11,315
1,521,162
16,587
50
1,352,213
1,355,144
2,931
1,367,042
11,898
1,386,533
19,491
55
1,285,321
1,287,950
2,629
1,300,320
12,370
1,324,413
24,093
60
988,066
989,986
1,920
1,000,206
10,219
1,025,639
25,434
65
791,770
793,191
1,421
802,019
8,827
834,542
32,524
70
634,371
635,302
931
642,167
6,865
683,531
41,364
75
558,247
558,842
595
563,036
4,194
618,251
55,215
80
411,726
412,010
284
411,250
-760
465,832
54,582
85
337,993
338,114
121
323,778
-14,335
379,033
55,255
Total
20,605,488
20,628,360
22,872
20,709,491
81,130
21,078,651
369,161

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