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New CASA* Report Finds Federal, State and Local Governments Spend Almost Half a Trillion Dollars a Year on Substance Abuse and Addiction
Date:5/27/2009

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, May 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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).

"Under any circumstances, spending more than 95 percent of taxpayer dollars on the crime, health care costs, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and other consequences of tobacco, alcohol and illegal and prescription drug abuse and addiction, and only two percent to relieve individuals and taxpayers of these burdens, is a reckless misallocation of public funds. In these economic times, such upside-down-cake public policy is unconscionable," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA's Founder and Chair and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. "It's p
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SOURCE The National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse
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