Americans spend an estimated $276 billion every year drinking, smoking and taking drugs, according to a recent analysis. To give that huge figure some perspective, that’s more than the federal government spent in 2015 on education and veterans’ benefits combined.
About half of the spending goes toward alcohol and nicotine, according to the analysis by Addiction-Treatment.com, a Santa Monica, California-based organization that helps connect people with substance abuse disorders with treatment providers. The organization looked at a wide range of sources to compile their estimates, including published government figures, data analysis and news reports.
Legal drugs nicotine and alcohol accounted for more than half of the total $276 billion spent, or roughly $140 billion.
Non-medical prescription drugs — including pain relievers, tranquilizers and stimulants — made up almost 22% of the total drug use cost; and marijuana, cocaine, heroin and meth accounted for nearly 28% of the total.