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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

ast time for this fiscal and human waste to end."

The report found that the largest amount of federal and state government spending on the burden of substance abuse and addiction -- $207.2 billion, or 58 percent -- was for health care (74.1 percent of the federal burden). The second largest amount -- $47 billion, or 13.1 percent -- was spent on justice systems, including incarceration, probation, parole, criminal, juvenile and family courts (32.5 percent of the state burden).

"With health care costs by far the heaviest burden of shoveling up, to attempt health care reform without providing for prevention and treatment of this disease is like trying to make a Reuben sandwich without corned beef and sauerkraut," said Califano.

The report, conducted with the assistance of a distinguished national advisory commission, follows CASA's landmark 2001 report Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets, which was limited to state government. Report Appendices C, D, and E contain individual cost breakdowns for spending by the federal government, 45 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, local governments, and three local case studies (a city, Nashville, TN; a county, Multnomah County, OR; a combined city and county, Charlotte and Mecklenberg County, NC).

In an unprecedented effort, CASA looked beyond the narrow categories of spending (prevention, treatment, research, taxation and regulation, and interdiction) to the much larger costs buried in government budgets such as those for substance abuse related spending on health care, criminal, juvenile and family court justice systems, incarceration, child welfare, domestic violence and child abuse, homelessness, mental illness and developmental disabilities. The result is the most comprehensive measure ever undertaken of the impact of substance abuse and addiction spending across all levels of government.

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SOURCE The National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse
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