This study documents the costs of heroin addiction in the United States, both to the addict and society at large. Using a cost-of-illness approach, costs were estimated in four broad areas: medical care, lost productivity, crime, and social welfare. We estimate that the cost of heroin addiction in the United States was US$21.9 billion in 1996. Of these costs, productivity losses accounted for similar to US$11.5 billion (53%), criminal activities US$5.2 billion (24%), medical care US$5.0 billion (23%), and social welfare US$0.1 billion (0.5%). The large economic burden resulting from heroin addiction highlights the importance of investment in prevention and treatment. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
The economic costs of heroin addiction in the United States