Nov 17, 2014 7:35 PM

Drug and alcohol abuse costs Granite State $1.84 billion

CONCORD - A new report says substance abuse is cost New Hampshire $1.84 billion in 2012 - and that's not just in the criminal justice and health care systems.

Brian Gottlob of PolEcon Research said, "When you add that up it's a tremendous impact on the New Hampshire economy."

The report just released by the non-profit group New Futures, a non-partisan organization dedicated to reduce alcohol and drug abuse in the state, says almost 9% of people age 12 and over in New Hampshire misused alcohol or drugs in 2012. Speaking strictly from an employment perspective, that means a lot of people missing work.

Gottlob said, "We estimate 9,000 people are not in the labor force simply because of alcohol abuse. There's a percentage that isn't in the labor force because of drug abuse."

That lost productivity and absenteeism equals lost tax revenue for the state.

Department of Labor commissioner James Craig said, "Just tax revenue alone in 2012 cost the state of New Hampshire 61 million dollars in lost tax revenue just from drugs and alcohol. "

The labor department doesn't keep track of the effects of drugs and alcohol on the labor force, so this report shines light on the problem from a different perspective.

Gottlob said, "It's a significant impact. It's 2.8% of the gross state product of the state of New Hampshire annually is lost because of substance abuse."

The study also found that for every dollar the state gains from the sale of liquor and wine, and taxes on beer, it incurs $12 in costs. It predicts New Hampshire could save $227 million a year by helping people battling substance abuse.


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