The social and health costs of Alcoholism and Addiction in our community was estimated to cost Australia (in 2004/2005 financial year) $55.1 Billion – a staggering amount
A partial breakdown of that figure includes
Alcohol – $15.3 Billion
Illicit Drugs – $8.2 Billion
and Alcohol and other drugs (used together) an additional 1.1B
[expand title=”Social and Health Costs”]
The spending on alcoholism / addiction by the Australian Government is quite a contrast. “…. Australian governments spent approximately $1.7 billion in 2009/10 on illicit drugs. This included programs to prevent or delay the commencement of drug use in young people, drug treatment services including counselling and pharmacotherapy maintenance, harm reduction programs such as the needle syringe program, police detection and arrest in relation to drug crimes and policing the borders of Australia for illegal importation of drugs and their precursors.
The $1.7 billion amount equates to 0.13% of GDP, and 0.8% of all government spending. In 2009/10 it represented per person spending of $76.28.” (https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/project/australian-government-spending-drugs-drug-budgets)
The breakdown is as follows:
Prevention / $156.8 Million
Treatment / $361.8 Million
Harm Reduction / $36.1 Million
Law Enforcement / $1123.3 Million
Other / $23.1 Million
TOTAL $1701.1 Million
Ref: NDRAC https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/project/australian-government-spending-drugs-drug-budgets
What happens to your son or daughter if they need help? Where can they go? Of course these are rhetorical questions – the answer is sadly that there are not enough beds to cater for the enormity of the problem – the burden of cost is helping health services to implode.
What can you do? The only suggestion available at this time is to write letters and emails to:
Your local AoD services – propose that they lobby for additional beds or treatment services in your region
your local politician – as community members we have the right to write letters to our politicians – politicians are supposed to be representing YOU.
Help them to help us
The social and health costs are an enormous burden – with a sound approach to education intervention treatment – we can change that dramatically.
The other important issue that needs to be examined is “What treatment actually works?” Another rhetorical question because almost every service believes it has the right or the only way.
If you cannot access a treatment service – what can you do?
The only genuine community answer is to access a Twelve Step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. It may also be helpful to access a private health professional who has experience working with Alcoholism or Addiction. It is not always necessary to be admitted into a rehabilitation service – but often a treatment service will help understanding and access to long term community self-help support easier.