Substance abuse measures the number of people aged 10 or older who have been diagnosed as abusing drugs or alcohol.
Why This Matters
Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) has a major impact on Canadians’ health, on society, and on our economy. Tens of thousands of Canadians are hospitalized each year for alcohol abuse – approximately 86,000 per year according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) (2005, p. 6). In addition to the human cost, the economic costs of substance abuse to society, and to the health care system are significant. It has been estimated that substance abuse (including tobacco use) cost Canadian society approximately $1,267 for every Canadian, or $39.8 billion in 2002 (CCSA, 2006, p. 1).
Measurement and Limitations
Substance abuse measures the number of residents aged 10 or older diagnosed with “alcoholic or drug psychoses, alcohol or drug dependence, or nondependent abuse of drugs” (MCHP, 2013, p. 126). Prevalence was calculated from International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes from hospitalization or physician visits in a five-year period.
More specifically, substance abuse was defined as at least one hospitalization with an ICD-9-CM code of 291, 292, 303, 304, 305 or an ICD-10-CA code of F10-F19, F55 or at least one physician visit with an ICD-9-CM code of 291, 292, 303, 304, or 305.
This indicator likely undercounts the number of individuals with substance abuse issues, since it only captures individuals visiting physicians or hospitals and being coded to one of the substance-abuse codes listed below.
Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. (2013). Manitoba RHA indicators atlas 2013. Retrieved from http://mchp-appserv.cpe.umanitoba.ca/reference//RHA_2013_web_version.pdf
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA). (2005). Substance abuse in Canada: Current challenges and choices. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Retrieved from http://www.ccsa.ca/2005%20CCSA%20Documents/ccsa-004032-2005.pdf
CCSA. (2006). The costs of substance abuse in Canada 2002: Highlights. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Retrieved from http://www.ccsa.ca/2006%20CCSA%20Documents/ccsa-011332-2006.pdf
Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. (2009). Manitoba RHA indicators atlas 2009. Retrieved from http://mchp-appserv.cpe.umanitoba.ca/reference/RHA_Atlas_Report.pdf
Substance Abuse Sustainable Development Goals
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality. Major progress has been made on increasing access to clean water and sanitation, reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues.