In recent times, the prevalence of amphetamine and number of users have increased. However, there is not as much national discussion about the drug as there is regarding cocaine, marijuana, heroin and the other prescription drugs being abused in the country. In part, this is caused by complications in the conflicting indicators of the entire meth situation.
- Household surveys on the national level as well as school-based studies indicate that methamphetamine is a drug of little concern.
- Law-enforcement agencies, county hospitals, and regional data systems recognize the meth situation as the most significant issue in the society recently.
- Despite documented dangers linked with the use of meth, research is yet to attempt to quantify the burden of cost of meth on the society.
- The data related to the use of meth is yet to be made comprehensive and complete.
- The Scientific literature on meth use, furthermore, has not yet developed consistent evidence of links of its many dangers.
The best estimate there is of the costs of meth use (2005) is roughly $23.4 billion.
However, experts are insisting that the true economic burden of meth use should range between $16.2 billion and $48.3 billion. Moreover, about 70% of the total costs of meth use ($16.6 billion) are a result of intangible burdens that addiction puts on drug dependent ($12.6 billion) users as well as premature mortality (around $4 billion). The measurement of the economic costs on dependent users was quantified through the impact of a lower quality of life on drug addicts.
Premature mortality of those who use meth was estimated at roughly 900 deaths (2005), a figure higher than marijuana-related deaths.
Criminal justice and costs of the crime indicate 18% of overall costs, which is estimated at around $4.2 billion. Offenses that were specifically related to meth, on the other hand, indicate over half of the economic costs of meth use, while property crimes that are meth-related indicate another $1.8 billion. The $70 million amount remaining is for probation violations and parole for offenses related to meth.
The costs of the endangerment of children have also been estimated at around $905 million. The amount, however, has been limited to the number of children that have been transferred from their homes to foster care. It is highly likely that these costs have been underestimated. Another key contributing factor in these costs is substance abuse, which makes up 2/3 of the removals of children from their homes.
The greatest contributing factor to such costs is the mental, medical, and the loss of the quality of life expenses that children have suffered (roughly $502 million). Unfortunately, the burden that foster care has received has only come close at $403 million.
The total loss in productivity, the best estimate would be $687 million.
Of this, $275 million is caused by absent employees and $305 million by incarceration. Smaller costs have also been indicated regarding the lower probability of meth users working and the costs for the employers to administer drug testing. The costs related to drug treatment have also been estimated at around $546 million with $491 million in community-based specialty treatments.
The best estimate for the additional health care costs in meth users are around $351 million, of which $250 million come from health support and administration. The total of healthcare is also likely to have been underestimated as it only considers incremental costs for several conditions although a big share of such conditions is caused by meth-induced behaviors.
The unique costs of the use of meth are potentially around $61 million for dangers related to production with $32 million coming from deaths and injuries caused by the hazardous substances, including fires, and explosions. Around half of the casualties are those suffered by emergency officers that respond although more costly and serious events have been suffered by the first responders. The remaining $29 million is indicated by production costs resulting from the cleaning of hazardous wastes found in the illicit laboratories. The substantial range of around $39-$89 million is largely a result of uncertainty in the estimation of deaths caused by meth production.
The estimates that have been provided focus only on the primary drivers of the costs of meth use.
More work is necessary to pinpoint areas where interventions are necessary in order to minimize dangers caused by meth use, which may be more cost-effective. It is also important to get help from a reputable drug treatment center in your area. Further research is expected to be beneficial in several areas specifically in translating the substantial overall costs of the burdens of meth use including meth-linked crimes, financial burdens on employers hiring workers using meth, child endangerment in settings not related to foster care, as well as the costs of health care related to the treatment of health issues that are meth-induced.
Caution should be taken in the interpretation of evidence conducted by school-based studies and even national household surveys suggesting meth use as a mere minor drug to be concerned about.
The individuals who impose the most costs on society are the ones who engage in crime, have become addicted, are in need of emergency aid or treatment, cannot go to work, eventually, lose their jobs, and die prematurely. These are the populations that do not adequately get represented in these surveys and studies.
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