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Total social cost of illegal substances at 0.33% of GDP, study shows

January 15, 2019 at 2:58pm

The total social cost of illegal substances for 2016 stood at 0.33% (€ 60 million) of Cyprus’ GDP, a study by Insights Market Research of Nicosia University on behalf of Cyprus National Addictions Authority ( NACC) found.

Social cost includes treatment and prevention costs, law enforcement costs, loss of income and productivity decline.

Based on the results, the total social cost is 60,582,792 euro for 2016, while expenditure on prevention and research on illegal substances was reduced. The overwhelming majority of social spending, namely 76.3%, relates to law enforcement costs.

The survey also showed an increase of 90% of total social costs compared to a 2006 survey. The direct cost related to the Police and namely the Drud Law Enforcement Unit was 83.2%, the Prison Department 11.2%, the Legal Service 2, 3%, the Judicial Authorities 1.7%, the State Laboratory 1.1% and the Customs Department 0.5%.

The indirect cost of income and productivity losses is 12.5%, or 7,586,853 euro.

The research has shown that direct deaths from the use of substances have an indirect cost of 32% in loss of income and productivity. For prisoners this amounts to 64% and to those hospitalized 4%. Direct healthcare costs are 7.4% or € 4,471,881 and direct law enforcement costs to 76.3% or € 46,223,121.

Public spending on prevention and research amounted to 79.2% and for NGOs 20.3%.

Head of NACC Chrysanthos Georgiou said that the policies and strategies to be implemented need to be targeted and well designed with the use of all appropriate tools.

He further pointed out that the results of this survey will help the Authority to identify potential gaps and work with all actors involved in better shaping a strategy on the matter.

(Cyprus News Agency)