This study from the Australian Institute of Criminology examined the national level costs of alcohol-related problems in Australia.
This study examined the national level costs of alcohol-related problems in Australia in order to inform policymakers on the costs the problems present to the country's criminal justice and health care systems, and the national economy. The findings indicate that in 2010, alcohol-related problems cost the country an estimated $14.352b. Of the $14.325b, $2.958b (20.6 percent), accounted for costs to the criminal justice system; $1.686b (11.7 percent) for costs to the health care system; $6.046b (42.1 percent) for costs to the country's economy; and $3.662b (25.5 percent) for costs associated with traffic accidents. The study also found that these estimates only cover the perceived costs of the problem as they relate directly to individuals and not the negative impacts to others that results from an individual's drinking problem. The findings indicate that the largest negative impact of alcohol-related problems is to Australia's national economy. This impact is a result of lost wages, lost productivity, and a reduced workforce due to premature mortality. Traffic accidents also have a significant impact as a result of increased costs from vehicle and property damage, loss of life, and increased health care-related costs. The costs to the criminal justice system resulted from increases in police costs, child protection and support services, court costs, and prison costs, among others. These findings indicate that alcohol-related problems in Australia have a significant impact on the country at the national level. Suggestions offered for decreasing these cost levels include the use of prevention and diversion strategies, especially improved treatment options for offenders. Data for the study were obtained from estimates developed in a 2010 study. The study's overall cost estimates were disaggregated to allow for the examination of costs for each significant sector of society and development of policies to allow for the more efficient use of resources. Figures and references
Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944, Canberra ACT, 2601 Australia, Australia
Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 454, April 2013