Beyond the Drinker: Alcohol’s Hidden Costs in 2016 in Australia
Drawing on a study of the range and magnitude of harms that alcohol caused to specific others in Australia, and on social and health agency statistics for collective costs, this article produces an analysis of the economic cost of alcohol’s harm to others (AHTO) in Australia.
This study used a general population survey and routinely collected social response agencies’ data to quantify different costs of AHTO, using methods consistent with International Guidelines for Estimating the Costs of Substance Abuse.
This approach estimates costs for health care and social services, crime costs, costs of productivity loss, quality of life-year loss and other expenses, including both tangible costs (direct and indirect) and intangible costs of loss of quality of life (respondents’ self-reported loss of health-related quality of life).
- The cost of AHTO in Australia was AUD$19.81 billion.
- The tangible costs account for 58% of total costs.
- That is $11.45 billion, or 0.68% of the gross domestic product in 2016 and
- Intangible costs amount to $8.36 billion.
- The costs to private individuals or households ($18.1 billion and 89% of total costs of AHTO) are greater than the costs to the government or society because of others’ alcohol use in Australia.
This study presents an estimation of the economic cost of harm from others’ alcohol use.
The economic costs of others’ alcohol use are large and of much the same magnitude as the costs that alcohol users impose on themselves, as found in previous studies.
Preventing harm to others from alcohol use is important as a public health goal for both economic and humane reasons.