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Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction





Substance use affects more than Canadians’ health. It also has a big impact on our economy. It affects a number of areas, including healthcare, lost productivity and criminal justice. 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.

For these reasons, CCSA collaborated with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research on the Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms project. Together, we have published a series of in-depth reports and infographics providing updated data on the costs and harms of substance use in Canada. We recently updated our online data visualization tool to include the most recent data from the years 2015-–2017. Using the tool that allows users can explore the costs and harms of substance use by the following categories:

  • Province or territory
  • Year: from 2007 to 2017
  • Type of substance, including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, cocaine and other CNS stimulants, and other substances such as hallucinogens and inhalants
  • Cost category: healthcare, lost productivity, criminal justice and other direct costs
  • Age, sex and health condition (where available)

Our Experts

Pam Kent, PhD
Interim Director, Research
Emily Biggar, MPH
Research and Policy Analyst

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