Drug addicts economic impact on the public sector in Denmark

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Klaus Møller
The focus of this project has been to investigate the economic burden that drug addicts have on the public sector in Denmark. The last 10 years has shown a significant rise in persons with an addiction to illicit drugs. Substance abuse often leads to marginalization of the person, which causes societal problems, that not only has an impact on the individual, but also in big proportion to the family, friends and society in general. Substance abuse can force the addict into making critical decisions, which would not have been the case with an absence of the addiction. Drug addicts tend to commit crime for which they get punished, they cannot take care of their children, who will be placed with a foster family and they cannot hold down a job and thereby not be able to provide for them self and their family. These facts are just a few out of many, where addiction takes over the life of the individual.
The interest in this project has been formulated as a research question:
“What are the costs in the public Danish sector to drug addiction in whole of 2010”
This question is important to answer, since it will provide valuable knowledge to decision makers whether to increase the effort for prevention and treatment of drug addiction. A systematic litterateur review showed that there is a great lack of analysis on the topics, why this project only is a small step in the big progress.
The methodology used in this project was the principles of a cost-of-illness analysis, where costs are identified, measured and valued and, in relation to the research question, all had a resource consumption with an origin from the public sector.
The results showed public costs between 1.2-1.5 billion DKK, which were calculated for only a segment of the actual population of drug addicts. Estimates from a Swedish study showed costs adding up to 7.8 billion DKK, calculated for the same segment of the total population.
All estimated values in this project were considered conservative calculated and any dominating sensitivity would only increase the total costs. Thus, framing the problem of drug addiction to have a very high economic impact on the costs in the public sector. Further analysis is needed in the area to establish a solid ground for decision-making and this project only sends a message about the extent of the problem.
Publication date2012
Number of pages37
ID: 66738163