The Economic Burden of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Canada in 2013

Alcohol Alcohol. 2016 May;51(3):367-75. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agv117. Epub 2015 Oct 21.


Aim: To estimate the economic burden and cost attributable to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in Canada in 2013.

Methods: This cost-of-illness study examined the impact of FASD on the material welfare of the Canadian society in 2013 by analyzing the direct costs of resources expended on health care, law enforcement, children and youth in care, special education, supportive housing, long-term care, prevention and research, as well as the indirect costs of productivity losses of individuals with FASD due to their increased morbidity and premature mortality.

Results: The costs totaled approximately $1.8 billion (from about $1.3 billion as the lower estimate up to $2.3 billion as the upper estimate). The highest contributor to the overall FASD-attributable cost was the cost of productivity losses due to morbidity and premature mortality, which accounted for 41% ($532 million-$1.2 billion) of the overall cost. The second highest contributor to the total cost was the cost of corrections, accounting for 29% ($378.3 million). The third highest contributor was the cost of health care at 10% ($128.5-$226.3 million).

Conclusions: FASD is a significant public health and social problem that consumes resources, both economic and societal, in Canada. Many of the costs could be reduced with the implementation of effective social policies and intervention programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Education, Special / economics
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / economics*
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Housing / economics
  • Humans
  • Law Enforcement