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Methamphetamine use cost the US about $23 billion in 2005, RAND study estimates
Date:2/3/2009

The economic cost of methamphetamine use in the United States reached $23.4 billion in 2005, including the burden of addiction, premature death, drug treatment and many other aspects of the drug, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The RAND study is the first effort to construct a comprehensive national assessment of the costs of the methamphetamine problem in the United States.

"Our findings show that the economic burden of methamphetamine abuse is substantial," said Nancy Nicosia, the study's lead author and an economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

Although methamphetamine causes some unique harms, the study finds that many of the primary issues that account for the burden of methamphetamine use are similar to those identified in economic assessments of other illicit drugs.

Given the uncertainty in estimating the costs of methamphetamine use, researchers created a range of estimates. The lowest estimate for the cost of methamphetamine use in 2005 was $16.2 billion, while $48.3 billion was the highest estimate. Researchers' best estimate of the overall economic burden of methamphetamine use is $23.4 billion

The study was sponsored by the Meth Project Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to reducing first-time methamphetamine use. Additional support was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

"We commissioned this study to provide decision makers with the best possible estimate of the financial burden that methamphetamine use places on the American public," said Tom Siebel, founder and chairman of the Meth Project. "This is the first comprehensive economic impact study ever to be conducted with the rigor of a traditional cost of illness study, applied specifically to methamphetamine. It provides a conservative estimate of the total cost of meth, and it reinforces the need to invest in serious prevention programs that work."

The RAND analysis found that nearl
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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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