Audit Estimates Public Cost of a Single Drug Addict at $1.5 Million
June 16, 2008
A report from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that each drug addict in the U.K. costs taxpayers £800,000 -- about $1.569 million -- over his or her lifetime, the BBC reported June 14.
The estimate included the cost of crime, healthcare under Great Britain's National Health Service, and other considerations; however, researchers said that the estimate was probably on the conservative side.
The report said that the cost to society could be reduced to under £70,000 (about $137,000) if people with addiction problems received treatment prior to age 21.
Researchers said that "the creation of drug-free prisons is an expensive option and was not considered to be practical in the current resource climate," that drug testing was ineffective to measure or counter drug use, and that options like supervised injection centers for opiate-addicted offenders should be considered.