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Valuing the Relationship Between Drug and Alcohol Use and Life Satisfaction: Findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales

Anna Maccagnan (), Timothy Taylor () and Mathew P. White
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Anna Maccagnan: Royal Cornwall Hospital
Mathew P. White: Royal Cornwall Hospital

Journal of Happiness Studies, 2020, vol. 21, issue 3, No 6, 877-898

Abstract: Abstract We analysed the relationship between drug use and wellbeing using data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales. We focused on cannabis use, the most commonly used drug, but also controlled for use of other drugs, alcohol consumption and a range of potential confounds. Measuring life satisfaction on a 0–10 scale, linear models found that people who had never used cannabis had significantly higher scores than current users (0.54). Never having used other types of drugs was also associated with 0.37 extra life satisfaction points. Moderate alcohol use (1–2 days per week) was associated with higher life satisfaction than abstainers or more regular drinkers. Following the “life satisfaction approach”, we estimated the extra income that would be needed to compensate for the wellbeing loss associated with cannabis use. Accounting for income endogeneity, our results suggested that being a current cannabis user may cost an individual over £5600 per year, in terms of lost wellbeing, while being a current user of other drugs may cost approximately £4000 per year. While acknowledging possible reverse causality, we estimated the annual population cost of drug use may be as high as £10.7bn in terms of lost wellbeing.

Keywords: Drug use; Cannabis; Life satisfaction; Wellbeing; Compensation value; CSEW (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10902-019-00110-0

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