Prevention Science

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 333–342 | Cite as

Costs of Alcohol and Drug-Involved Crime

  • Ted R. Miller
  • David T. Levy
  • Mark A. Cohen
  • Kenya L. C. Cox
Original Paper

Abstract

A large proportion of violent and property crimes involve alcohol or other drugs (AOD). AOD use only causes some of these crimes. This paper estimates the costs of AOD-involved and AOD-attributable crimes. Crime counts are from government statistics adjusted for underreporting. The AOD-involved portion of crime costs is estimated from inmate surveys on alcohol and illicit drug use at the time of the crime. The costs and AOD-attributable portion of AOD-involved crimes come from published studies. They include tangible medical, mental health, property loss, future earnings, public services, adjudication, and sanctioning costs, as well as the value of pain and suffering. An estimated 5.4 million violent crimes and 8 million property crimes involved AOD use in 1999. Those AOD-involved crimes cost society over $6.5 billion in medical and mental health care and almost $65 billion in other tangible expenses (in 1999 dollars). If the value of pain, suffering, and lost quality of life is added, AOD-involved crime costs totaled $205 billion. Violent crimes accounted for more than 85% of the costs. Roughly estimated, crimes attributable to alcohol cost $84 billion, more than 2 times the $38 billion attributable to drugs. Although American media—news and entertainment—dwell on the links between drugs and crime, alcohol-attributable crime costs are double drug-attributable ones. Effective efforts to reduce the abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs should reduce costs associated with crime.

Keywords

Violence Alcohol Drugs Costs Child abuse 

References

  1. Aos, S., Phipps, P., Barnoski, R., & Lieb, R. (1999). The comparative costs and benefits of programs to reduce crime: A review of national research findings with implications for Washington state. Olympia, Wash: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.Google Scholar
  2. Ball, J. C., Rosen, L., Flueck, J. A., & Nurco, D. N. (1981). The criminality of heroin addicts: When addicted and when off opiates. In J. A. Inciardi (Ed.), The drugs crime connection (pp. 39–65). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (1992). Drugs, crime, and the justice system: A national report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (NCJ-133652). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  4. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (1993). Technical appendix: Drugs, crime, and the justice system, June 1993 (NCJ-139578 [U.S. GPO:1993-342-471:80005]). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  5. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (1999). Criminal victimization in the United States, 1998: A national crime victimization survey report. (NCJ-145125 [U.S. GPO:1998-301-151:80036]). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  6. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2001). Criminal victimization in the United States, 1999: A national crime victimization survey report. (NCJ-145125 [U.S. GPO:1999-301-151:80036]). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  7. Bushman, B. J., & Cooper, H. M. (1990). Effects of alcohol on human aggression: An integrative research review. Psychological Bulletin, 107(3), 341–352.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Centers for Disease Control. (1986). Homicide-Los Angeles, 1970–1979. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 34(5), 61–65.Google Scholar
  9. Centers for Disease Control. (2001). Table 9. Number of deaths from 113 selected causes by age: U.S., 1999. National Vital Statistics Reports, 49(8), 27–30.Google Scholar
  10. Chaiken, J. M., & Chaiken, M. R. (1990). Drugs and predatory crime. In M. Tonry & J. Q. Wilson (Eds.), Drugs and Crime. Vol. 13, Crime and Justice (pp. 203–239). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cohen, M. A. (1988). Pain, suffering, and jury awards: A study of the cost of crime to victims. Law and Society Review, 22(3), 537–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen, M. A. (1999). Alcohol, drugs and crime: Is “Crime” really one-third of the problem? Addiction, 94(5), 644–648PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Cohen, M. A., & Miller, T. R. (1994). Pain and suffering of crime victims: Evidence from jury verdicts. (Working Paper). Vanderbilt University.Google Scholar
  14. Cohen, M. A., & Miller, T. R. (1998). The cost of metal health care for victims of crime. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 13(1), 93–110.Google Scholar
  15. Cohen, M. A., Miller, T. R., & Rossman, S. B. (1994). The costs and consequences of violent behavior in the United States. In J. Roth & A. Reiss (Eds.), Understanding and preventing violence: Consequences and control (vol. 4, pp. 67–166). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  16. Commonwealth Fund. (1993). The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Women’s Health. New York: Commonwealth Fund.Google Scholar
  17. Council of Economic Advisers. (1998). Economic report of the President, transmitted to the Congress February 1998. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  18. Daro, D. (1988). Confronting child abuse: Research for effective program design. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  19. Douglass, J., Kenney, G., & Miller, T. R. (1990). Which estimates of household production are best? Journal of Forensic Economics, 4(1), 25–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gold, M. R., Siegel, J. E., Russell, L. B., & Weinstein, M. C. (Eds.). (1996). Cost-effectiveness in health and medicine. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Greenfield, L. A. (1998). Alcohol and crime: An analysis of national data on the prevalence of alcohol involvement in crime, Report prepared for the Assistant Attorney General’s National Symposium on Alcohol Abuse and Crime. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  22. Goldstein, P. J. (1985). The drugs/violence nexus: A tripartite conceptual framework. Journal of Drug Issues, 15(4), 493–506.Google Scholar
  23. Gropper, B. A. (1985). Probing the links between drugs and crime. (Research in brief). Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
  24. Harwood, H. J., Fountain, D., & Livermore, G. (1998). The economic cost of alcohol and drug abuse in the United States, 1992. Rockville, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.Google Scholar
  25. Hodgson, T., & Meiners, M. (1982). Cost-of-illness methodology: A guide to current practices and procedures. Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 60(3), 429–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hubbard, R. L., Marsden, M. E., Rachal, J. V., Harwood, H. J., Cavanaugh, E. R., & Ginzburg, H. M. (1989). Drug abuse treatment: A national study of effectiveness. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  27. Kenkel, D. (1997). On valuing morbidity, cost-effectiveness analysis and being rude. Journal of Health Economics, 16, 749–757.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kilpatrick, D. G., Edmunds, C. N., & Seymour, A. (1992). Rape in America. Arlington, VA: National Victim Center.Google Scholar
  29. Lawrence, B. A., Miller, T. R., Jensen, A. F., Fisher, D. A., & Zamula, W. W. (2000). Estimating the costs of non-fatal consumer product injuries in the United States. Injury Control & Safety Promotion, 7(2), 97–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lipsey, M. W., Wilson, D. B., Cohen, M. A., & Derzon, J. H. (1996). Is there a causal relationship between alcohol use and violence? A synthesis of the evidence. In M. Galanter (Ed.), Recent developments in alcoholism: Alcohol and violence, Vol. 13. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  31. Manning, W. G., Keeler, E. B., Newhouse, J. P., Sloss, E. M., & Wasserman, J. (1991). The costs of poor health habits. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Miczek, J., Debold, J., Haney, M., Tidey, J., Vivian, J., & Weerts, E. (1994). Alcohol, drugs of abuse, aggression, and violence. In A. Reiss Jr. & J. A. Roth (Eds.), Understanding and preventing violence, Vol. 3. Washington, DC: National Research Council, National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  33. Miller, T. R. (1990). The plausible range for the value of life: Red herrings among the mackerel. Journal of Forensic Economics, 3(3), 75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Miller, T. R. (1993). Costs and functional consequences of United States roadway crashes. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 25(5), 593–607.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Miller, T. R. (2000). Variations between countries in values of statistical life. Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, 34(2), 169–188.Google Scholar
  36. Miller, T. R., Calhoun, C., & Arthur, W. B. (1989). Utility-adjusted impairment years: A low-cost approach to morbidity valuation. In Estimating and valuing morbidity in a policy context: Proceedings of Association of Environmental and Resource Economists workshop. (EPA-23-08-89-05). Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.Google Scholar
  37. Miller, T. R., Cohen, M. A., & Rossman, S. B. (1993). Victim costs of violent crime and resulting injuries. Health Affairs, 12(4), 186–197.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Miller, T. R., Cohen, M. A., & Wiersema, B. (1996). Crime in the United States: Victim costs and consequences—A new look. (NCJ 155282). Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
  39. Miller, T. R., Fisher, D. A., & Cohen, M. A. (2001). Costs of juvenile violence: Policy implications. Pediatrics, 107(1), e1–e7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Miller, T. R., Lestina, D. C., & Spicer, R. S. (1998). Highway crash costs in the United States by driver age, blood, alcohol level, victim age, and restraint use. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 30(2), 137–150.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Miller, T. R., & Levy, D. T. (2000). Cost-outcome analysis in injury prevention and control: Eighty-four recent estimates for the United States. Medical Care, 38(6), 562–582.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Mishan, E. (1988). Cost-benefit analysis, 4th ed. Boston, MA: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  43. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. (2000). Child maltreatment 1999: Reports from the States to the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  44. Pauly, M. V. (1996). Valuing health care benefits in money terms. In F. Sloan (Ed.), Valuing Health Care (pp. 99–124). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Rajkumar, A., & French, M. (1997). Drug abuse, crime costs, and the economic benefits of treatment. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 13(3), 291–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rice, D. P., MacKenzie, E. J., Jones, A. S., Kaufman, S. R., deLissovoy, G. V., Max, W., McLoughlin, E., Miller, T. R., Robertson, L. S., Salkever, D. S., & Smith, G. S. (1989). Cost of injury in the United States: A report to Congress. San Francisco, CA: Institute for Health & Aging, University of California, and Injury Prevention Center, The Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  47. Rodgers, G. B. (1993). Estimating jury compensation for pain and suffering in product liability cases involving nonfatal personal injury. Journal of Forensic Economics, 6(3), 251–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Roizen, J. (1993). Issues in the epidemiology of alcohol and violence. In S. Martin (Ed.), Alcohol and interpersonal violence: Fostering multidisciplinary perspectives. NIAAA Research Monograph 24, (pp.3–26). Rockville, MD: National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse.Google Scholar
  49. Scott, K. D., Schafer, J., & Greenfield, T. K. (1999). The role of alcohol in physical assault perpetration and victimization. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 60, 528–536.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Sedlak, A. J. (1991). National incidence and prevalence of child abuse and neglect: 1988. (Revised Report). Rockville, MD: Westat, Inc.Google Scholar
  51. Simpson, D. D., Joe, G. W., Lehman, W. E. K., & Sells, S. B. (1986). Addiction careers: Etiology, treatment, and 12-year follow-up outcomes. Journal of Drug Issues, 16(1).Google Scholar
  52. Straus, M. A., & Gelles, R. J. (1986). Societal change and the change in family violence from 1975 to 1985, as revealed by two national surveys. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48(3), 465–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Trumbull, W. N. (1990). Who has standing in cost-benefit analysis? Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 9(2), 201–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. US Consumer Product Safety Commission. (1993). Report to Congress in Response to the Fire Safe Cigarette Act of 1990. Bethesda, MD: US Consumer Product Safety Commission.Google Scholar
  55. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000). 10th Special report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health: Highlights from Current Research (pp. 54–66). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  56. U.S. Department of Justice—office of national drug control policy. (1998). Drug data summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  57. U.S. Department of Justice—office of national drug control policy. (2000). Drug-related crime. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  58. U.S. Office of Management and Budget. (1989). Regulatory program of the United States Government. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  59. Viscusi, W. K. (1993). The value of risks to life and health. Journal of Economic Literature, 31(4), 1912–1946.Google Scholar
  60. Weimer, D., & Vining, A. (1989). Policy analysis: Concepts and practice. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  61. Watters, J., Reinarman, C., & Fagan, J. (1985). Causality, context, and contingency: relationships between drug abuse and delinquency. Contemporary Drug Problems, 12(3), 351–372.Google Scholar
  62. Zedlewski, E. W. (1989). New mathematics of imprisonment: A reply to Zimring and Hawkins. Crime and Delinquency, 35(1), 169–175.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Prevention Research 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ted R. Miller
    • 1
  • David T. Levy
    • 2
  • Mark A. Cohen
    • 3
  • Kenya L. C. Cox
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Institute for Research and EvaluationCalvertonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Owen Graduate School of ManagementVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations