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How Drugs Impact Your Local Economy

Drug and alcohol use is widespread in the United States. But when it comes to addiction, who suffers? We know the person battling addiction faces many hardships, as do their friends, family, coworkers and peers. But the affects of drug abuse extend to the local and national economy as well.

If we step back from the private stories of broken homes, legal trouble, financial hardship, and physical and mental health problems that accompany addiction, we see how drug and alcohol abuse impacts the entire community in a negative way.



The above cities are disproportionately affected by drug abuse, but all cities and communities face rising economic costs of of drug use. Read on to learn how the US and cities across the country are being affected by drug use.

The Effects of Drugs on the Economy

According to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy the most recent estimate (2007) of the economic cost of drug abuse in the United States was $193 billion. That total includes:

$120 billion in lost productivity

Mainly due to labor participation costs, participation in drug abuse treatment, incarceration, and premature death;

$11 billion in healthcare costs

For drug treatment and drug?related medical consequences; and

$61 billion in criminal justice costs

Primarily due to criminal investigation, prosecution and incarceration, and victim costs.

At over seven years old, this economic price tag is bound to have increased, as increased drug trafficking from Mexico and tempting profit rates for prescription narcotics like Oxycodone continue to rise on the black market.

Other economic costs of drugs


At this level of saturation, the entire community feels the impact of an addiction. Whether it’s petty theft or involuntary manslaughter due to driving under the influence, drug abuse takes a real toll.

Lost Labor

Beyond just crime, the workplace suffers with decreased productivity, increased sick time, and frequent firings.


Health care suffers as physical health declines, or a person has disproportionately costly health needs due to overdose or drug-related illness.

Social Cost

Then there’s the social cost of chronic drug abuse that takes the form of housing insecurity, need for government assistance, or intervention by Child Protective Services.

Take action today!

Fortunately, there are ways to take action and to make a positive change! If you are a business owner or community member, encourage your workplace or local Chamber of Commerce to implement drug free work environments.


Image: Flickr

If you are concerned about the health of a loved one who may need a rehabilitation from drug or alcohol addiction, contact the Pat Moore Foundation for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.