Chemical dependency negatively impacts health, medicine education, the criminal justice system, child protection, domestic abuse, and most importantly family well-being and child-rearing.
With the increasing availability of prescription medicine, heroin, and legitimizing of marijuana, parents, schools, employers and communities are being overwhelmed by mood-altering substances. The problem is reaching a crisis level in communities throughout Minnesota, driving high rates of incarceration, domestic violence, child abuse, family disintegration and school failure.
The Cost of Alcohol
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the economic costs associate with alcohol use in Minnesota are estimated at $5.06 billion. This amounts to over $975 for every person in the state. These costs are 17 times greater than the $296 million in tax revenues that are collected from alcohol sales.
Excessive alcohol consumption is the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States. In Minnesota, there were 1,150 alcohol-attributable deaths in Minnesota in 2007, amounting to 38.99 years of potential life lost.
Alcohol use contributes to a number of negative consequences, including: unintentional injuries including falls, burns, drowning, and motor vehicle crashes; violent acts including homicide, suicide, and assault; chronic diseases including cancer, digestive disease and cardiovascular disorders; unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases; and alcohol-related birth defects.
The Cost of Opioids
According to the CDC, addiction to prescription opioid painkillers is the strongest risk factor for heroin addiction, and the ballooning opioid problem in Minnesota clearly mirrors national trends. Overdose deaths in Minnesota now exceed deaths from motor vehicle accidents. In 2013 alone, 507 Minnesotans died from drug overdoses according to the Department of Health, with heroin and prescription painkillers in particular accounting for many of these deaths. The need for safe and responsible prescription opioid distribution has never been clearer.
Time to Take Action
Numerous studies demonstrate the link between substance disorders and increasing social, criminal justice, and healthcare costs. It is time to stop reading studies and get into action.