What Is The Drug, Marijuana, Pill, & Booze Epidemic Doing To the U.S. Economy?

The U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, released a final report for the Obama Administration on the state of the health in the United States last fall in which he summarized that alcohol and drug abuse were at an epidemic level and the worst health problem facing this country. I agree. In this report Murthy claims that heroin addiction alone is costing the United States billions of dollars annually in hospitalization, incarceration, and other associated costs.

If heroin alone is costing the United States billions of dollars per year, what is the annual cost of alcoholism, marijuana abuse, methamphetamine use, and pharmaceutical abuse, among other substance abuses? Here are the some of the statistics, which I gathered from a variety of drug abuse websites:

Drug abuse: $193 Billion
Alcohol abuse: $249 Billion
Tobacco use: $295 Billion

Add it all up and it totals at least $737 BILLION a year! We aren’t talking millions – we’re talking billions – and it adds up to a whopping 3/4 of a trillion dollars a year. These are people who are adding to the burden of a government system that is already almost $20 trillion in debt. This means that every 2 years, we add $1.5 trillion to the national debt as the direct result of the substance abusers in our society.

In order to resolve a problem first we must identify the problem. Otherwise we are simply dealing with the symptoms of the problem.