Drug Abuse and the Economy

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The article “Alcohol, drug abuse cost Alaska’s economy $1.2 billion in 2010” was published on October 28, 2012 and discusses the significant negative effects drug use has on the economy, specifically in Alaska.  The article is based on a report done by the McDowell Group and it provides the full report at the bottom of the article, which is great additional reading for my paper.  The article mentions the impacts of drug use on the economy in various forms.  For example, productivity losses reached $673.2 million and criminal justice and protective services reached $217.7.  Productivity is measured in a few different ways: lost production due to mortality, diminished productivity, incarceration, and alcohol/drug treatment.  They also measure economic impact in terms of health care and public assistance and social service programs.  The absurdly high numbers are causing the state to question drug education programs they have implemented in the past and the effectiveness of substance abuse recovery programs.  One statistic that ties in with my paper is that 42.8% of the estimated 16,951 Alaskan adults who have a problem with substance abuse are low-income. 

The article does not necessarily provide suggestions for other variables that I could include in my regression.  But the paper does provide alternative ways of how drug use can be measured to affect the economy in ways other than people’s incomes, some ways that I hadn’t thought of as possibilities before- specifically the criminal justice and protective services statistics.  I’m not considering changing my dependent variable at this point but it’s interesting literature to add to my research on the subject.  The article also reinforces the thought I had on the implications that this information would have on the government reconsidering their approach on substance abuse education. 

Here is a link to the article: http://juneauempire.com/state/2012-10-28/alcohol-drug-abuse-cost-alaskas-economy-12-b-2010

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