Substance use costing B.C. economy nearly $5B per year: Study

A new report is breaking down the cost substance use is having on B.C.

According to the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), substance use is costing the provincial economy an estimated $4.8 billion annually.

Alcohol is the top cost driver, accounting for $1.9 billion in economic costs, the report found.

The overall cost to the healthcare system alone totals nearly $1.6 billion.

“The drugs that are prescribed, there’s hospital treatment, emergency department treatment, presentations to family doctors, day surgeries,” Dr. Tim Stockwell, director of the CISUR, said.

For this study, researchers relied on 2014 data, meaning the overall cost now four years later is even higher.

For those struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs, Sumit Ahuja would like to see government put a greater focus on what life could look like.

A long-term recovering addict turned nonprofit founder, Ahuja says hope is a powerful tool.

“It should be about promoting recovery and I think that might be the most important thing that we could do to assist the economic burden that comes from the addictions,” he said.

“Perhaps by promoting recovery and showing people how good life can be once you take that positive step to get better.”

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