The avoidable costs of alcohol abuse in Australia and the potential benefits of effective policies to reduce the social costs of alcohol
3. The aggregate social costs of alcohol
The avoidable cost estimates presented later in this report are based upon the estimated aggregate social costs of alcohol abuse which are presented in Collins and Lapsley (2008a). This section provides an overall summary of all estimated alcohol-attributable costs. The derivation and interpretation of the following three tables are explained in considerable detail in Collins and Lapsley (2008a).
Table 1. Tangible social costs of alcohol abuse, 2004/05
|Labour in the workforce|
|Reduction in workforce|
|Labour in the household|
|Total paid and unpaid labour costs|
|Less consumption resources saved|
|Total net labour costs|
|Road accidents n.e.i.|
|Productivity of prisoners|
|Resources used in abusive consumption|
Source: Table 33, Collins and Lapsley (2008a).
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Table 2. Intangible social costs of alcohol abuse, 2004/05
|Loss of life|
|Pain and suffering (road accidents)|
|Total intangible costs|
Source: Table 34, Collins and Lapsley (2008a).
Table 3. Total social costs of alcohol abuse, 2004/05
Source: Table 35, Collins and Lapsley (2008a).
Collins and Lapsley also calculate the tangible social costs which are borne by the community as a result of alcohol and illicit drugs being consumed together, with these costs not being attributable solely to one or other of these drugs. These costs amounted to $1,057.8m.
The total social costs of alcohol abuse (both tangible and intangible) in 2004/05 are estimated to be, at a minimum, $15.3 billion, with a further $1.1 billion attributable to the joint consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs.
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