Repartition of expenditure

With current data collection systems it is very difficult to obtain a reliable breakdown of figures on spending by category. Nationally, areas such as treatment, harm reduction and prevention often merge into each other, and not all countries apply the same system of categorising expenditure. Consequently, international comparisons are hampered by the use of different data collection and classification methods, making it very difficult to compare expenditure in specific areas.

However, the methodological constraints aside, one rather solid conclusion can be drawn on the basis of the best data provided in this report: the area of healthcare and treatment seems to attract the lion’s share of the money, accounting for 50–80 % of all direct government drugs demand-reduction expenditure.

In Austria, ‘counselling, care and treatment’ for drug addicts in 1999 accounted for 78 % of federal demand-reduction expenditure. In Greece, the data show that almost 73 % of known expenditure was allocated to treatment (and secondary expenditure), while in Spain 1999 expenditure on treatment in the communities and autonomous cities accounted for 74 % of the total. In Portugal, 49 % of total drug expenditure in 1999 went on treatment, but with 25 % of the total expenditure allocated to drug-use prevention this is one of the highest rates (of the known data) in this area in the EU.

Direct expenditure on ‘prevention’ is, in fact, very difficult to identify, and as a result the data are more uncertain. Known rates range from 4 % in Austria, which provided data only on primary prevention, to 20 % in Greece (again only primary prevention) and are 15 % in the Spanish communities and autonomous cities and 10 % in Luxembourg.

The share of total drugs demand-reduction expenditure allocated to rehabilitation and reintegration, and to outreach and harm-reduction activities, seems to be lower, most likely because of the different scale of expenditure in comparison with treatment or because partially included in it.