The costs of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug abuse to Australian Society in 2004/05 - Summary Report
This booklet summarises the results of a study by Collins and Lapsley (2007) that estimates the social costs of drug abuse in Australia in the financial year 2004/05, with ‘drugs’ including alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs. The study is the fourth in a series prepared for the Department of Health and Ageing by these authors; previous studies were undertaken for 1988, 1992 and the financial year 1998/99.
The full report examines the study’s methods, concentrating on the economic aspects, with three appendixes detailing the demographic, epidemiological and criminological methods used. Bibliographical details of the full report, and a list of all tables that it contains, can be found at the end of this booklet.
The different uses of substance abuse cost estimates are discussed in some detail in the World Health Organization publication International guidelines for estimating the costs of substance abuse (Single et al. 2003):
- First, economic cost estimates are frequently used to argue that policies on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs should be given a high priority on the public policy agenda...
Second, cost estimates help to appropriately target specific problems and policies. It is important to know which psychoactive substances involve the greatest economic costs...
Third, economic cost studies help to identify information gaps, research needs and desirable refinements to national statistical reporting systems...
Last but not least, the development of improved estimates of the costs of substance abuse offers the potential to provide baseline measures to determine the efficacy of drug policies and programmes intended to reduce the damaging consequences of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Estimates of the social costs can assist policy makers in evaluating outcomes, as expressed in terms of changes in social costs in constant dollar terms. Estimates of social costs can also facilitate cross-national comparisons of the consequences of substance abuse and different approaches to confronting those consequences.
The purpose of the research summarised here was to provide reliable estimates that could inform all of these public policy objectives.