Criminalization costs


Have you ever thought how much does it cost to keep a person in prison? The mass criminalization of people who use drugs in CEECA region instead of declared maintenance of public health and social security puts financial and social burden on the states.  In average, incarceration costs are 2-6 times bigger than the money spent for health and social services. The cost of incarceration is calculated by multiplying 365 days (1 year) to the cost of maintenance of one prisoner/per day. This sum doesn’t include the following expenses: police work, investigation of the case, court proceedings and lost taxes, which person cannot pay, because of the incarceration and integration of person into the society.


In almost all of the countries in CEECA region harm reduction and other health services are severely underfunded by the state and depend on international donors. Due to de-facto criminalization of people who use drugs these services are usually not a priority and therefore not funded.

EHRA decided to check how much it would cost to provide needle and syringe exchange services (NSP), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and unemployment benefit for one person per year. Please note, that not all people who use drugs need NSP and/or OST, as well as not all of these people need unemployment benefit, so the cost of health and social services in practice could be less.