Substance Abuse: Alcohol, Drugs and TobaccoGPI Technical Report

Publication - Oct. 1, 2001 - By Mark Anielski

This is one of 28 reports that provide the background for the Genuine Progress Indicators (GPI) System of Sustainable Well-being Accounts. It explains how we derived the index that was earlier published in Sustainability Trends 2000: The Genuine Progress Statement for Alberta, 1961 to 1999. The research for this report was completed near the end of 2000.

The report examines the trends in substance abuse-tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs-by Albertans during the period 1961 to 1999. Substance abuse is considered in the GPI accounting system as a measure of the human health and wellness of individuals and is one of 22 societal and human health indicators contained in the Alberta GPI accounts. This report also examines the full costs associated with substance abuse including the direct health costs, the cost of law enforcement, corrections and the loss to labour productivity. The GPI accounting system treats increasing rates of substance abuse as a regrettable trend and a real cost to genuine well-being. The incidence of substance abuse serves as a proxy for the social health of communities and households. While these first GPI Accounts for Alberta did not explicitly include the total costs of substance abuse as a regrettable social and human health costs in GDP accounting, preliminary estimates and methodological guidelines for including these in subsequent estimates are provided for future research. Incorporating the full costs associated with smoking, alcohol and illicit drug use by Albertans into a provincial and national well-being accounting system is desirable.

Tags:  Economy


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