Understanding the costs of drug-related actions is an important aspect of drug policy. Some of the funds allocated by governments for expenditure on tasks related to drugs are identified as such in the budget (‘labelled’). Often, however, most drug-related expenditure is not identified (‘unlabelled’) and must be estimated using modelling approaches.
The total drug-related public social costs for France have been estimated for 1996 and 2003. A new estimate of the social cost of drugs, alcohol and tobacco was published in 2015. According to this estimate, the social cost of illicit drugs amounted to EUR 8 700 million in 2010, less than the amount estimated for alcohol (EUR 118 000 million) or tobacco (EUR 122 000 million).
Since 2008, the total drug-related expenditure of central government has been presented annually in a budgetary document submitted to the French Parliament. In addition to the expenditure of the central government, estimates for total drug-related public expenditure include spending by the social security system. In 2015, total drug-related expenditure represented 0.08 % of gross domestic product (GDP) (approximately EUR 1.83 billion), with more than half of the total spent on health activities and social protection, and the remaining expenditure going on public order and safety and on multi-sectoral services working on drug-related initiatives.
The available data suggest that total drug-related expenditure increased gradually between 2008 and 2010, following the national fiscal consolidation trend registered in France. Between 2011 and 2013, drug-related expenditure grew rapidly before stabilising in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, growth in French GDP accelerated more than the growth in drug-related expenditure, which led to a fall in drug-related expenditure as a proportion of GDP in France.