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June 7, 2010--New Report Available!

Jefferson County Substance Abuse Advisory Board Tells Residents About the Staggering Cost of Substance Abuse in the County

Port Townsend, WA - - - Today, the Jefferson County Substance Abuse Advisory Board issued a report titled: The TRUE Cost of Substance Abuse:  Understanding the Financial Impact of Substance Abuse and Addiction in Jefferson County.


In a comprehensive review of expenditures that included all public dollars (local, state and federal sources) in Jefferson County for fiscal year 2007, it was learned that over $17 million was spent on an annual basis to pay for direct and indirect costs of substance abuse.   This cost each resident of the County $601.12.  


“Every resident’s tax dollars are contributed toward the direct and indirect costs associated with substance abuse and addiction, and it is unfortunate that those dollars can’t be allocated toward other pressing needs in the County,” John Austin, Jefferson County Commissioner and member of the Substance Abuse Advisory Board stated.


The report was modeled after a study completed by Columbia University’s Center of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (CASA).  CASA’S template allowed for analysis of both direct and indirect costs of addiction in Jefferson County. The County study was started in 2009, and utilized completed departmental reports for the fiscal year ending in 2007. Not all agency reports reviewed had 2008 and 2009 budget reports completed. Therefore, the Board chose to use the data available from Fiscal Year 2007.


The study was undertaken to inform Jefferson County residents about the staggering costs of substance abuse, and how their tax dollars were spent in 2007 to deal with the numerous issues that resulted. The study will inform policy makers and public/private grantors about the need to allocate more funds to prevention and treatment, and to help reduce the cost to taxpayers, and lower the 70% recidivism rate at the County jail.


Jefferson County Sheriff, Tony Hernandez said, “our first step is to educate the community. The next step is to develop a plan to deal with it. We plan to do this in the next six months.” The City of Port Townsend Police Chief, Conner Daily, County Commissioner, John Austin, and City Council member, Catharine Robinson discussed how these high costs impact and challenge their responsibilities as elected officials because the dollars expended have so many other worthwhile uses in the community.


To review the Report, please click here: True Cost Spreadsheet July 2010


To review the Methodology Notes, please click here: Methodology Notes--TRUE Cost


Jefferson County Communty Network

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