Lawmakers Highlight Cost of Addiction

By Staff Writer

Opiate addiction and other forms of substance abuse continue to strain state and local budgets, as law enforcement officials struggle to keep pace with the number of offenders who continue to commit crimes related to their addiction.

The incoming governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal recently pledged to address this situation in his inaugural speech, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He said that the situation is not only destroying neighborhoods and families, it is also wreaking havoc on the state’s bottom line.

In his address, Deal cited statistics indicating that one in 13 Georgia residents is involved in the correctional system, the majority of whom have been charged with drug-related offenses. Furthermore, he said that it costs $3 million each day to operate the state’s justice system. Reducing the number of individuals who are in the system as a result of addiction could eliminate much of the cost.

“As a state, we cannot afford to have so many of our citizens waste their lives because of addictions,” he said, according to the news source. “It is draining our State Treasury and depleting our workforce.”

Drug addiction costs the U.S. more than $180 billion each year in crime and healthcare costs, as well as decreased economic productivity, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.