JUNEAU (AP) -- Substance abuse costs Alaskans more than half a billion dollars annually, according to a new report.
A study by The McDowell Group, a Juneau-based research and consulting firm, says alcohol and drug abuse has $614 million in annual impact.
The study cites costs of lost productivity, traffic crashes, criminal cases, protective services, health care and public assistance.
Alcohol accounts for $453 million of the annual losses to the economy, with other drug abuse costs estimated at $161 million.
Half of the total economic impact, $319 million, is due to lost worker productivity through premature death, reduced efficiency of workers through mental or physical impairment, incarceration, treatment and hospitalization, according to the report.
''This is a staggering blow to Alaska's economy, communities and families,'' said Eric Tomasino of Palmer, chairman of the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
The McDowell Group prepared the report for the board, which advises the governor and Legislature on substance abuse issues.
The report was prepared with a grant from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority.
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