KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Little Spending on Drug Prevention, A Lot on Related Disease Treatment

A new study has found more than one-tenth of the combined federal, state and local budgets across the United States – $468 billion in 2005 – goes to spending related to smoking, and drug and alcohol abuse, the New York Times reports. Most of that money was spent on health care cost for the treatment of overdoses and diseases caused by substance abuse, while only 2% of the total went to prevention, treatment and addiction research, according to the study, released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

"The punch line of their report, that society should invest far more in prevention and treatment, makes total sense," the director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann, told the Times (Eckholm 5/28).

One significant recommendation is that a cultural shift away from stigmatizing addiction disorders is needed to move towards a more preventative approach, and away from spending to merely to "shovel up the consequences and human wreckage of substance abuse and addiction," CNN reports (5/28).

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