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 of executed labelled expenditures in Ireland are available from 2005. The priorities for drug-related public expenditure are set out in the national drugs strategy. In recent years, the method of estimating drug-related public expenditure has been standardised, and it has become possible to compare levels of labelled drug-related public expenditure over time. In 2015, 2016 and 2017 expenditure stabilised at 0.08 % of gross domestic product (GDP).
In 2017, total drug-related expenditure was approximately EUR 241 million. The drug budget allocated approximately 52 % of spending to health, 32 % to public order and safety, 8 % to recreation, culture and religion, 8 % to social protection initiatives and 0.3 % to education.