New CASA report finds that for every federal and state $1 spent on substance abuse and addiction, only 2 cents goes to prevention and treatment

Source: CASA News Release, 5/28/2009

Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets

NEW CASA* REPORT FINDS FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SPEND ALMOST HALF A TRILLION DOLLARS A YEAR ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND ADDICTION

OF EVERY FEDERAL AND STATE DOLLAR SPENT, 96 CENTS GOES TO SHOVEL UP WRECKAGE OF ILLNESS, CRIME, SOCIAL ILLS; ONLY 2 CENTS GOES TO PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 28, 2009 – Substance abuse and addiction cost federal, state and local governments at least $467.7 billion in 2005, according to Shoveling Up II: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets, a new 287-page report released today by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

The CASA report found that of $373.9 billion in federal and state spending, 95.6 percent ($357.4 billion) went to shovel up the consequences and human wreckage of substance abuse and addiction; only 1.9 percent went to prevention and treatment, 0.4 percent to research, 1.4 percent to taxation and regulation, and 0.7 percent to interdiction.

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 $238.2 billion; states, $135.8 billion; and local governments, $93.8 billion, in 2005 (the most recent year for which data were available over the course of the study).

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Key Findings

  • Of the $3.3 trillion total 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 billion on substance abuse and addiction (9 percent of their budgets), outstripping local spending for transportation and public welfare.[1]
  • For every $100 spent by state governments on substance abuse and addiction, the average spent on prevention, treatment and research was $2.38; Connecticut spent the most, $10.39; New Hampshire spent the least, $0.22.
  • For every dollar the federal and state governments spent on prevention and treatment, they spent $59.83 shoveling 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 $60.25 shoveling 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 $8.95 shoveling up the consequences of substance abuse and addiction.

Click here to read the complete press release.
Click here to download for free or purchase a print copy of the full 287 page report.