Aspects of social cost concerning illicit drug use: Analysis based on index numbers

Marianna Diomidous, Stelios Zimeras, Jonh Mantas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The trafficking and use of illicit drugs has a wide range of social consequences for both individuals and society. The current article focuses on relevant parameters concerning the estimation of social cost regarding illicit drugs, by reviewing recent relevant social cost studies. Parameters of drug use that should be taken into account for the estimation of the cost include various consequences to the user, family, wider community, industry and the public sector. Cost-of-illness studies recognize three categories: health cost, productivity losses and other impact on society. The potential benefits of cost estimation, gives rise to policy and investment decisions by highlighting specific problems and policies. A number of recent reports have provided estimates of the total economic and social costs of drug misuse in particular situations. Most of the studies use the human capital technique mainly due to the fact that this method is simpler in technical terms, with only a few studies using the demographic approach by estimating the intangible costs of illicit drug use. The development of improved economic cost estimates will be the means for prioritising substance abuse issues on policy agendas and provide useful information for targeting interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalReview of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics, International Edition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Estimation
  • Illicit drugs
  • Index numbers
  • Social cost


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