New Report: The social costs of methamphetamine in Australia

In mid-2015, in response to the National Ice Taskforce, the Australian Government Department of Health commissioned an analysis of the social costs of methamphetamine use in Australia. Methamphetamine consumption is associated with a diverse range of harms and costs to individual drug users, their families and wider society.

Led by NDRI and including colleagues from NDARC, NCETA and others from across Australia, the project aimed to estimate the costs of methamphetamine use for a specific year (2013-14). Among a range of findings, the report estimated that:

  • Costs relating to crime, including costs to the criminal justice system and costs to victims of crime, were the single largest contributor, comprising about two-thirds of total costs, with policing accounting for more than a quarter of these costs;
  • Across all offences, methamphetamine was identified as the causal factor of the most serious offence in 18% of police detainees;
  • The average estimated cost per methamphetamine attributable prisoner was $106,600, with imprisonment costs accounting for about 30% and costs to victims of personal or household crime accounting for 38.7% of the total cost of methamphetamine related crime;
  • About 2.2% of the total cost of methamphetamine was spent on preventing use.

“It is clear the criminal justice costs related to methamphetamine use are significant, and present policy makers, law enforcement, and emergency services providers with considerable challenges,” the report authors found.

“However, it is also apparent that several questions remain unanswered. Additional primary research, and substantial improvements to data collection and its availability, are required before a more comprehensive answer can be provided on the true social impact of methamphetamine either in this area or more broadly.”

The full report The Social Costs of Methamphetamine in Australia 2013/14 is now available to download from the NDRI website here.

Posted on: 1 May 2017

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