To estimate avoidable burden and avoidable costs of alcohol abuse in Canada for the year 2002.
A policy effectiveness approach was used. The impact of six effective and cost-effective alcohol policy interventions aimed to reduce alcohol consumption was modeled. In addition, the effect of privatized alcohol sales that would increase alcohol consumption and alcohol-attributable costs was also modeled. The effects of these interventions were compared with the baseline (aggregate) costs obtained from the second Canadian Study of Social Costs Attributable to Substance Abuse.
It was estimated that by implementing six cost-effective policies from about 900 million to two billion Canadian dollars per year could be saved in Canada. The greatest savings due to the implementation of these interventions would be achieved in the lowering of productivity losses, followed by health care, and criminality. Substantial increases in burden and cost would occur if Canadian provinces were to privatize alcohol sales.
The implementation of proven effective population-based interventions would reduce alcohol-attributable burden and its costs in Canada to a considerable degree.