Potential Impacts of the Alberta Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Service Networks on Secondary Disabilities: A Cost-Benefit Analysis
J Popul Ther Clin Pharmacol Vol 20(2):e193-e200; July 18, 2013
Original Research
Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Jessica Moffatt, Philip Jacobs, Anderson W Chuck, Egon Jonsson

To estimate the break-even effectiveness of the Alberta Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Service Networks in reducing occurrences of secondary disabilities associated with FASD.

The secondary disabilities addressed within this study include crime, homelessness, mental health problems, and school disruption (for children) or unemployment (for adults). We used a cost-benefit analysis approach where benefits of the service networks were the cost difference between the two approaches: having the 12 service networks and having no service network in place, across Alberta. We used a threshold analysis to estimate the break-even effectiveness (i.e. the effectiveness level at which the service networks became cost-saving). 

If no network was in place throughout the province, the secondary disabilities would cost $22.85 million (including $8.62 million for adults and $14.24 million for children) per year. Given the cost of network was $6.12 million per year, the break-even effectiveness was estimated at 28% (range: 25% to 32%). 

Although not all benefits associated with the service networks are included, such as the exclusion of the primary benefit to those experiencing FASD, the benefits to FASD caregivers, and the preventative benefits, the economic and social burden associated with secondary disabilities will “pay-off” if the effectiveness of the program in reducing secondary disabilities is 28%.

Key Words: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, secondary disabilities, cost-benefit analysis, Alberta FASD Service Networks

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