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NH cost of drug, alcohol abuse: $2.36 billion

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 07. 2017 11:12PM

A report to be released today estimates the cost of alcohol and drug abuse for the New Hampshire economy at more than $2.36 billion in 2014, up from $1.84 billion in 2012.

That is $1,780 for every person in the state, equal to 3.32 percent of the state’s annual gross product, according to the nonprofit advocacy organization New Futures.

“By reducing the number of individuals in New Hampshire’s labor force and by decreasing the skills and productivity of individuals who are in the labor force, substance misuse in New Hampshire exacerbates key demographic and human resource issues that contribute to slower economic growth in the state,” the study states.

Substance Misuse in New Hampshire: An Update on Costs to the State’s Economy and Initial Impacts of Public Policies to Reduce Them” reports on the economic cost of substance use disorder in New Hampshire between 2012 and 2014.

It is to be released today at 10 a.m. at a news conference in the Legislative Office Building on North State Street in Concord. An advance copy of the report was obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader on Sunday.

The report’s estimates do not include $604.6 million in costs related to premature deaths since New Futures issued its last report in 2014.

Key findings of the study include:

• Alcohol dependence and abuse reduce New Hampshire’s labor force by more than 12,000 individuals, or by 1.65 percent;

• Productivity losses, including reduced labor force participation and reduced earnings of alcohol-dependent workers, account for the largest share of costs associated with substance abuse in New Hampshire, an estimated $1.56 billion in 2014;

• Nearly $45 million was spent on substance use disorder treatment in New Hampshire in 2014;

• Health care costs attributable to substance misuse in New Hampshire were $337.1 million in 2014;

• Alcohol-attributable offenses accounted for 31 percent of all arrests and about 12.8 percent of all crimes committed in the Granite State in 2014;

• Drug-attributable offenses account for about 26 percent of all arrests in New Hampshire;

• Policing and public safety costs related to alcohol and drugs total an estimated $156.8 million in the Granite State in 2014, an amount equal to about 39 percent of all state and local government policing costs in New Hampshire;

• The largest portion of policing costs attributable to substance abuse — $124.11 million — is borne by local municipalities.

• Over $101.7 million of New Hampshire’s corrections costs are connected to substance abuse.

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