Hans Melberg, Pekka Hakkarainen, Esben Houborg, Marke Jääskeläinen, Astrid Skretting, Mats Ramstedt and Pia Rosenqvist
Measuring the harm of illicit drug use on friends and family
AIMS - This paper explores different approaches to quantify the human costs related to drug use. DATA AND METHODS - The data come from a representative survey of 3092 respondents above the age of 18 in four Nordic capitals: Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm. RESULTS - The results show that in most Nordic capitals more than half of the respondents at some time have known and worried about the drug use of somebody they know personally. Moreover, while the average reported harm was about 2 on a scale from 0 to 10, a significant minority (10%) of those knowing drug users indicated that the harm was above 5. CONCLUSIONS - Many persons have at some time personally known somebody who uses drugs. This causes significant human harm and should be included in the estimate of the social cost of illegal drugs. These results are relevant in the debate on the size of the drug problem as well as for targeting groups that experience the highest costs.