Strengthening Benefit-Cost Analyses of Substance Abuse Project

Substance abuse is estimated to cost the nation over $180 billion annually, yet relatively little is known about whether current evidence-based preventive interventions can efficiently reduce these costs. In order to conduct high quality benefit-cost analyses of substance abuse prevention efforts, researchers will require (1) comprehensive cost estimates that account for the resources needed to adopt, implement and sustain prevention programs, (2) estimates of the social benefits gained from reducing substance abuse risk factors in monetary terms, and (3) guidance around best practices and research priorities for evaluating prevention costs and benefits.

In order to strengthen benefit-cost analyses of substance abuse prevention, this project will model the systemic costs of a large-scale National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded prevention effort known as PROSPER, estimate the societal value of targeting childhood substance risk factors, and identify best practices and research priorities for BCAs of prevention. By improving BCAs in this area, researchers can obtain more robust and reliable estimates that will facilitate more informed allocation of social resources and efficient substance abuse prevention efforts.