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Impact of Addictive Substances and Behaviours on Individual and Societal Well-being$
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Peter Anderson, Jürgen Rehm, and Robin Room

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714002

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714002.001.0001

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(p.239) Chapter 12 Conclusion
Impact of Addictive Substances and Behaviours on Individual and Societal Well-being

Jürgen Rehm

Robin Room

Peter Anderson

Oxford University Press

The main conclusions from the chapters are drawn. Substance use and gambling indeed permeate our daily lives, and the current way these behaviours are handled is neither integrated nor effective in optimizing well-being. As a consequence, these behaviours incur considerable health and social harm in current societies, leading to huge economic costs. Substance use and gambling should be seen as a continuum, with addiction just being one way to frame one end of this continuum, heavy use. If seen this way, it becomes clear that shifts in the distribution of behaviours can be very effective in reducing social and health harm. Policies should not just be focused on particular behaviours, but on the optimal mix of distributions which could reduce the maximum harm.

Keywords:   substance use, behaviours, gambling, harm, continuum

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