The research, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol, was funded by NIDA and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Acting NIDA Director Dr. Glen R. Hanson says, This study demonstrates that investing dollars in preventive intervention programs is not only a good public health practice, but it is a good economic practice as well. The personal and public health benefits of preventing teen drinking and adult alcohol abuse are well known. Less well known by the public are the costs of these problems.
According to the latest statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the annual economic costs of alcohol abuse in 1998 were estimated to be $185 billion.
The Iowa investigators based their cost-benefit calculations on data from a longitudinal prevention trial with families of sixth graders from 33 rural schools in a Midwestern state. The families were randomly assigned to one of two interventions or to a control group. The two interventions were the Iowa Strengthening Families Program (ISFP), a seven-session intervention with parents and students together, and Preparing for the Drug Free Years (PDFY), a five-session intervention primarily involving parents.
The researchers conservatively estimated that prevention of a single case of adult alcohol abuse produces an average savings of $119,633 in avoided costs to society. Factoring these savings into the costs and effectiveness of the two interventions revealed that the ISFP intervention saved $9.60 in future costs for each dollar invested, and that the PDFY intervention yielded a benef
Contact: Blair Gately
NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse