Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 688–722

Social costs of untreated opioid dependence

Authors

    • Social, Prevention, and Health Policy Research DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health
    • Clinical Research DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health
    • Health Systems Research and Consulting UnitCentre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • Jurgen Rehm
    • Social, Prevention, and Health Policy Research DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health
    • Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of Applied Science
    • Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of Toronto
  • Benedikt Fischer
    • Social, Prevention, and Health Policy Research DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health
    • Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of Toronto
    • Department of CriminologyUniversity of Toronto
  • Bruna Brand's
    • Clinical Research DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health
    • Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Toronto
  • Louis Gliksman
    • Social, Prevention, and Health Policy Research DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health
    • Department of Social ScienceThe University of Western Ontario (Brescia College)
  • Jennifer Stewart
    • Department of EconomicsNational University of Ireland
  • Wendy Medved
    • Family Healthcare Research Centre, Department of Family MedicineUniversity of Toronto
    • Ontario Cancer InstitutePrincess Margaret Hospital
  • Joan Blake
    • Clinical Research DepartmentCentre for Addiction and Mental Health
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF02344032

Cite this article as:
Wall, R., Rehm, J., Fischer, B. et al. J Urban Health (2000) 77: 688. doi:10.1007/BF02344032

Abstract

Using cost-of-illness methodology applied to a comprehensive survey of 114 daily opiate users not currently in or seeking treatment for their addiction, we estimated the 1996 social costs of untreated opioid dependence in Toronto (Ontario, Canada). The survey collected data on social and demographic characteristics, drug use history, physical and mental health status, the use of health care and substance treatment services, drug use modality and sex-related risks of infectious diseases, sources of income, as well as criminality and involvement with the law enforcement system. The annual social cost generated by this sample, calculated at Canadian $5.086 million, is explained mostly by crime victimization (44.6%) and law enforcement (42.4%), followed by productivity losses (7.0%) and the utilization of health care (6.1%). Applying the $13,100 cost to the estimated 8,000 to 13,000 users and 2.456 million residents living in Toronto yields a range of social cost between $43 and $69 per capita.

Key Words

Cost of illnessIllicit drugsOpioid dependence

Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2000