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Costs of Substance Use in Canada

Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms: 2007–2014 (Report)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Substance use is a significant cost to the Canadian econom​y​ through its direct impact on the healthcare and criminal justice systems, and its indirect impact on economic productivity as a result of premature de​ath and ill health. Understanding the economic, health and social costs of problematic substanc​e use can help:​

  • To make a case for ensuring that alcohol, to​bacco and other substances are a priority on the public policy agenda;

  • To target specific problems and policies;​

  • To identify information gaps, research needs and refinements to national statistical reporting systems; and

  • To provide baseline measures to determine the effectiveness of drug policies and programs.​

Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms (2007–2014)

In June 2018, CCSA and the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research released a new report, Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms (2007–2014), Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms: 2007–2014 (Report)​covering a broad range of substances including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids and central nervous system (CNS) depressants, cocaine and CNS stimulants, and other substances such as hallucinogens and inhalants.

Providing national, provincial and territorial estimates for the cost and harms of substance use between 2007 and 2014, the study estimates the total cost of substance in Canada in 2014 at $38.4 billion. Alcohol and tobacco use contributed over two thirds of these costs, while opioids ranked a distant third.

The study also revealed that:

  • Almost 20% of all violent crimes committed in Canada can be attributed to alcohol.

  • Costs related to lost productivity amounted to $15.7 b​illion or 40​% of the total cost.

  • Healthcare costs were $11.1 billion, almost 30% of the total cost.

  • ​​Cri​minal justice was the third highest contributor to total substance-related costs with a cost of $9 billion.

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The findings of the study are also available in the following formats​:
                                    ​   ​​​​Report in Short          Infographic​​
Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms: 2007–2014 (Report in Short) Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms [infographic]
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