Problematic alcohol use contributes to significant health, social and economic costs to the community, including illness, injury, crime, violence, anti-social behaviour, and family and relationship breakdown. Effective alcohol policy measures can substantially affect alcohol consumption and reduce alcohol-related harm. However, budget constraints necessitate making important decisions regarding how initiatives should be prioritised.
The aim of this project is to improve understanding of the costs of alcohol-related harm in Western Australia and the potential cost offsets or savings that might be achieved through the implementation of selected alcohol harm reduction initiatives. This aim will be achieved through the following four objectives.
- Estimating the costs of alcohol-related harm in Western Australia by analysing the extent to which problematic alcohol use contributes to health, social and economic costs to the community.
- Conducting a review of the literature to obtain ‘best’ estimates on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of alcohol harm prevention and treatment initiatives to use in deriving standardized cost-outcome estimates.
- Identifying potential cost offsets or savings of implementing, or scaling up, effective/cost-effective alcohol harm reduction initiatives using a common framework to make comparisons between initiatives meaningful.
- Assessing implications of research findings for development of alcohol policy and its implementation through expert stakeholder review of final results.
A comparison of monetized costs and outcomes will reveal the extent to which the cost of problematic alcohol use could be offset by implementing effective alcohol harm reduction initiatives. The resultant “What Works?” list of policy options based on effectiveness and return on investment will assist policymakers in choosing a portfolio of initiatives that are evidence-based and have a high likelihood of producing more benefits than costs or benefits at a reasonable cost.