LISTEN: Drug and alcohol misuse costs Alaska $3.5B annually. Here’s how we know the price tag.

Alcohol stock image

The latest estimate on the economic cost to the state of Alaska from alcohol and drug abuse is about $3.5 billion.

That’s according to a report released by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, with the hopes that the data will better inform policymakers’ decisions for the benefit of Alaskans.

The report breaks down all sorts of data and includes everything from increased emergency room visits and incarceration, to lost productivity or early deaths from drug and alcohol misuse.

The Mental Health Trust commissioned the report from the consulting firm McDowell Group. McDowell Group Vice President of Anchorage Operations Donna Logan spoke about it with Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at cgrove@alaskapublic.org.