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.