In 2017, addiction generated costs of CHF 7.86 billion in Switzerland. The breakdown shows that tobacco causes the highest costs followed by alcohol and illegal drugs. Research into behavioural addictions in gambling, shopping addiction, social media or cybersex is a recent discipline for which not a lot of data are available. The costs of gambling were CHF 221 million.

Health care expenditure, costs resulting from loss of productivity and criminality (criminal prosecution) are mainly responsible for the economic cost of addiction. Health care expenditure accounted for the largest share (2017: 49%). Direct loss of productivity due to addiction-related illnesses or due to the immediate forms of expression of addiction (e.g. due to absences from hangovers, intoxication at work) also accounted for a large share of costs (each 20%). The costs resulting from criminal prosecution and productivity losses from early death are lower.

Social insurances covered almost 3.2 billion francs of the economic cost of addiction, companies just over 3 billion and the state 1.6 billion.

This indicator is part of the Monitoring System Addiction and NCD (MonAM) of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Addiction has a negative impact on the health and quality of life of the person concerned. However, addiction is not only a public health problem. The consequences are also a burden to society and the economy. A better understanding of the costs of addiction makes it possible to make those concerned aware that prevention is worth it.

Definition

This indicator is based on the study from Fischer et al. (2020). In addition to the Swiss Health Survey, various data sources are used for estimates. Further details on the subject can be found in the original literature.

The indicator shows the economic cost of addiction. The following cost values are reported:

Direct costs

  • Health sector: inpatient costs (acute care, psychiatry, rehabilitation and care provision) plus outpatient costs (outpatient treatment and medication)
  • Criminal prosecution: Costs for police, custodial sentences and judicial system caused by addiction-related offences (material damage not included)

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Reference

  • Fischer, B. et al. (2020): Volkswirtschaftliche Kosten von Sucht. Polynomics, Olten: Study (in German)

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Last updated

04/09/2021