Pubdate: Tue, 26 Jun 2018
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2018 Times Colonist


VICTORIA - The economic cost of substance use in Canada in 2014 was
$38.4 billion, or about $1,100 for every Canadian, says a report
released Tuesday.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction partnered with the
Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research to examine the data and
estimate the harms of substance use based on health, justice, lost
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The study concludes that despite record opioid overdose deaths across
Canada, more than two-thirds of substance use costs are associated
with alcohol and tobacco.

It finds the four substances associated with the largest costs are
alcohol at $14.6 billion, tobacco at $12 billion, opioids at $3.5
billion and marijuana at $2.8 billion.

The report says the ability to track costs and harms caused by each
substance will be a valuable asset to federal, provincial and
territorial efforts to reduce the damage caused by these substances.

In concludes the costs associated with alcohol use jumped from $369
per person in 2007 to $412 per person in 2014.

Tim Stockwell, with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research
at the University of Victoria, says many people would consider opioids
to be the cause of the most economic and personal harm.

"I think most people would be surprised to know that alcohol and
tobacco are killing ten times more people than the other illicit drugs

Matthew Young, a senior research and policy analyst at the Canadian
Centre on Substance Use and Addiction in Ottawa, says the report comes
at a time when Canada is in the midst of a deadly opioid overdose
crisis and is about to legalize the recreational use and sale of
marijuana in October.

"Even though those are really important, we shouldn't lose sight of
some of the substances we take for granted that are intertwined with
our regular lives because they do still exact a toll," he says.
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