Economic and Social Costs of Heroin Use and How it Affects Two Economies

Essay by iamagirl May 2006

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It is simply common knowledge to state that millions of individuals are easily drawn to a horrible lifestyle of drug addiction, especially heroin. It is estimated that

there are approximately one million individuals in the United States who are addicted to heroin as well as one to two percent of the population in Australia. Unfortunately, people turn to this illicit drug without actually realizing all of the negative impact it may have on such economy. Or in other words, the economic and the social value of the consequences associated with heroin abuse. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the economic and social costs of heroin use, and the negative impact these costs produce among the economy of two countries: United States and Australia.

A Revolution in Treating Heroin Addiction (2001) states that "heroin is a direct threat to the economic security of the United States and results in lower productivity, more workplace accidents, and higher health-care costs, all of which constrain America's economic output."

Likewise, according to the Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy (2001) "the costs to society from drug consumption,

however, exceed the amounts spent on drug abuse. Drug use fosters crime; facilitates the spread of catastrophic health problems, such as hepatitis, endocarditis, AIDS; and disrupts personal, familial, and legitimate economic relationships. The public bears much of the burden of these indirect costs because it finances the criminal justice response to drug-related crime, a public drug-treatment system and anti-drug prevention programs."

In terms of all of these costs and how they are all contributing factors that are bringing down the economy in the United States, criminal activity is what really seems to be focused on. Because of illegal importation and distribution, and the many people who

are addicted...