Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction


Substance use affects more than the health of people living in Canada. It also has a big impact on our economy in many ways. CCSA collaborates with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research on the Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms project, which analyzes how much is spent on lost productivity, healthcare, criminal justice and other direct costs from substance use.

Understanding the economic, health and social costs of substance use in Canada allows public health experts to:

  • Focus on relevant public policies;
  • Target the harms caused by substance use;
  • Identify information gaps and research needs;
  • Improve national data reporting systems;
  • Measure changes in policy; and
  • Determine the effectiveness of harm reduction programs.

We recently updated our report and online data visualization tool to include the most recent data from 2007 to 2020. Users can explore the costs and harms of substance use by the following categories:

  • Region: province, territory and all of Canada;
  • Type of substance: alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, cocaine and other CNS stimulants, and other substances, such as hallucinogens and inhalants;
  • Category: lost productivity, healthcare, criminal justice and other direct costs; and
  • Demographics: age, sex and health condition (where available).

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