Belgium Country Drug Report 2019

Public expenditure

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.

Estimates for 2012 and 2013 indicate that total public expenditure related to illicit substance use amounted to 0.08 % of gross domestic product (GDP), that is, more than EUR 306 million in 2012 and EUR 300 million in 2013. In 2015, total public expenditure related to illicit substance use was estimated at almost EUR 470 million, amounting to 0.1 % of Belgium’s GDP. When estimates include expenditure on initiatives also tackling alcohol and psychoactive medication, it amounted to 0.3 % of GDP.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.