Pubdate: Mon, 29 Jan 2001
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Copyright: 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Contact:  P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802
Fax: (808) 523-8509
Author: David Ho, Associated Press


A Study Estimates States Spend As Much As They Do On Higher Education

WASHINGTON -- Dealing with the effects of drug, alcohol and cigarette abuse 
cost states about as much as they pay for higher education, a private study 

States spent $81.3 billion dealing with substance abuse in 1998 -- or about 
13 percent of their budgets, according to the study released today by the 
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

The three-year, state-by-state study, titled "Shoveling Up: The Impact of 
Substance Abuse on State Budgets," put New York at the top in percentage of 
funds -- 18 percent of its budget -- spent to "shovel up the wreckage" of 
abuse. South Carolina had the lowest percentage -- under 7 percent.

Hawaii was seventh among the states included in the study, with a per 
capita spending of $368. The national average was $299.

"Substance abuse and addiction is the elephant in the living room of state 
government, creating havoc with service systems, causing illness, injury 
and death and consuming increasing amounts of state resources," said Joseph 
A. Califano Jr., the center's president.

Only about 4 percent of the amount spent, or $3 billion, was for prevention 
and treatment programs, Califano said. The rest of the money spent was 
drawn from state services ranging from law enforcement and welfare to 
health care and education.

The report recommends greater investment in prevention and treatment, 
particularly among prisoners to keep them from committing drug-related 
crimes after their release.

"Governors who want to curb child abuse, teen pregnancy and domestic 
violence and further reduce welfare rolls must face up to this reality: 
Unless they prevent and treat alcohol and drug abuse and addiction, their 
other well-intentioned efforts are doomed," Califano said.

Total state spending in 1998 was $620 billion, with 13.1 percent related to 
substance abuse, the report said. By comparison, states spent an average of 
13.1 percent of their budgets on higher education, 11.3 percent on Medicaid 
and 8.3 percent on transportation.

State justice systems had the largest portion of the expenses attributed to 
substance abuse, spending $30.7 billion on prisons, juvenile justice and 
court costs.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said the report 
demonstrates the need for a "balanced strategy" to deal with drug abuse.

"We cannot simply arrest our way out of the problem," Edward H. Jurith, 
acting director of the office, said in a statement. "Treatment programs 
that follow a criminal from arrest to post-release follow-up must be 
implemented to end the cycle of drug abuse and crime."

Federal estimates, using 1995 data, place the overall federal, state and 
local costs of drug and alcohol use at $277 billion annually, including law 
enforcement and social programs.

The new study, which does not include federal funds, relied on data from 
the states about their spending on prevention programs, research and health 
care costs directly related to substance abuse. For indirect costs, 
researchers estimated the burden on state resources.

For example, to estimate substance abuse costs in elementary and high 
school education, researchers considered the expenses caused by all 
abusers. Mothers who drink while pregnant and have children with fetal 
alcohol syndrome influence the costs of special education when those kids 
go to school. Student drug use affects the need for drug testing and health 
care, and drug-related violence might require more spending on security and 
repairs. Teachers who abuse substances can cost the state in productivity 
and health insurance.

Adding Up

Per capita by states on substance abuse:

Alabama, $277

Alaska, $532

Arizona, $205

Arkansas, $206

California, $340

Colorado, $217

Connecticut, $267

Delaware, $500

District of Columbia, $812

Florida, $215

Georgia, $210

Hawaii, $368

Idaho, $196

Illinois, $239

Iowa, $257

Kansas, $223

Kentucky, $245

Louisiana, $243

Maryland, $253

Massachusetts, $442

Michigan, $282

Minnesota, $433

Mississippi, $178

Missouri, $254

Montana, $291

Nebraska, $176

Nevada, $282

New Jersey, $252

New Mexico, $271

New York, $478

North Dakota, $155

Ohio, $263

Oklahoma, $213

Oregon, $278

Pennsylvania, $292

Puerto Rico, $235

Rhode Island, $303

South Carolina, $158

South Dakota, $176

Tennessee, $173

Utah, $242

Vermont, $229

Virginia, $267

Washington, $269

West Virginia, $187

Wisconsin, $273

Wyoming, $240

State Average, $299

Note: Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Texas did not 
provide complete information for the study and are not included in this 
list. An estimate of their substance abuse spending is $13.7 billion, which 
added to the figures from the 47 listed jurisdictions totals $81.3 billion.

Source: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D