Of Every Federal And State Dollar Spent,
The CASA report found that of
The report, based on three years of research and analysis, is the first ever to assess the costs of tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse to all levels of government. Using the most conservative assumptions, the study concluded that the federal government spent
"Under any circumstances, spending more than 95 percent of taxpayer dollars on the crime, health care costs, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and other consequences of tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse and addiction, and only two percent to relieve individuals and taxpayers of these burdens, is a reckless misallocation of public funds. In these economic times, such upside-down-cake public policy is unconscionable," said
The report found that the largest amount of federal and state government spending on the burden of substance abuse and addiction --
"With health care costs by far the heaviest burden of shoveling up, to attempt health care reform without providing for prevention and treatment of this disease is like trying to make a Reuben sandwich without corned beef and sauerkraut," said Califano.
The report, conducted with the assistance of a distinguished national advisory commission, follows CASA's landmark 2001 report Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets, which was limited to state government. Report Appendices C, D, and E contain individual cost breakdowns for spending by the federal government, 45 states,
In an unprecedented effort, CASA looked beyond the narrow categories of spending (prevention, treatment, research, taxation and regulation, and interdiction) to the much larger costs buried in government budgets such as those for substance abuse related spending on health care, criminal, juvenile and family court justice systems, incarceration, child welfare, domestic violence and child abuse, homelessness, mental illness and developmental disabilities. The result is the most comprehensive measure ever undertaken of the impact of substance abuse and addiction spending across all levels of government.
- Of the
$3.3 trilliontotal federal and state government spending, $373.9 billion-- 11.2 percent, more than one of every ten dollars-- was spent on tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse and addiction and its consequences.
- The federal government spent
$238.2 billion(9.6 percent of its budget) on substance abuse and addiction. If substance abuse and addiction were its own budget category at the federal level, it would rank sixth, behind social security, national defense, income security, Medicare and other health programs including the federal share of Medicaid.
- State governments spent
$135.8 billion(15.7 percent of their budgets) to deal with substance abuse and addiction, up from 13.3 percent in 1998. If substance abuse and addiction were its own state budget category, it would rank second behind spending on elementary and secondary education.
- Local governments spent
$93.8 billionon substance abuse and addiction (9 percent of their budgets), outstripping local spending for transportation and public welfare.(1)
- For every
$100spent by state governments on substance abuse and addiction, the average spent on prevention, treatment and research was $2.38; Connecticutspent the most, $10.39; New Hampshirespent the least, $0.22.
- For every dollar the federal and state governments spent on prevention and treatment, they spent
$59.83shoveling up the consequences, despite a growing body of scientific evidence confirming the efficacy and cost savings of science-based interventions.
- With respect to children, for every dollar federal and state governments spent on prevention or treatment, they spent
$60.25shoveling up the consequences of substance abuse and addiction.
- For each dollar in alcohol and tobacco taxes and liquor store revenues that federal and state governments collect, they spend
$8.95shoveling up the consequences of substance abuse and addiction.
"Despite a significant and growing body of knowledge documenting that addiction is a preventable, treatable and manageable disease, and despite the proven efficacy of prevention and treatment techniques, our nation still looks the other way while substance abuse and addiction cause illness, injury, death and crime, savage our children, overwhelm social service systems, impede education -- and slap a heavy and growing tax on our citizens," said
CASA Call for Action
The report details cost effective methods to reverse these spending patterns and reduce human suffering. To stop the hemorrhage of public funds to shovel up the wreckage of substance abuse and addiction, the CASA report offers specific recommendations in its call for actions by federal, state and local governments in several areas:
- Prevention and early intervention,
- Treatment and disease management,
- Tax and regulatory policies, and
- Expanded research.
CASA is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA and its staff of more than 50 professionals has issued 68 reports and white papers, published two books, conducted demonstration programs focused on children, families and schools at 233 sites in 88 cities and counties in 35 states,
(1)Due to data limitations, this does not include local spending on prevention, treatment, research, or taxation/regulation of alcohol and tobacco.
*The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.
SOURCE The National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse