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Methamphetamine Use Cost United States About $23 Billion

Posted Feb 10 2009 10:06am

The economic cost of methamphetamine use in the United States reached $23.4 billion in 2005, including the burden of addiction, premature death, drug treatment and many other aspects of the drug, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The RAND study is the first effort to construct a comprehensive national assessment of the costs of the methamphetamine problem in the United States.

“Our findings show that the economic burden of methamphetamine abuse is substantial,” said Nancy Nicosia, the study’s lead author and an economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

Although methamphetamine causes some unique harms, the study finds that many of the primary issues that account for the burden of methamphetamine use are similar to those identified in economic assessments of other illicit drugs.

Given the uncertainty in estimating the costs of methamphetamine use, researchers created a range of estimates. The lowest estimate for the cost of methamphetamine use in 2005 was $16.2 billion, while $48.3 billion was the highest estimate. Researchers’ best estimate of the overall economic burden of methamphetamine use is $23.4 billion.

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