User Guide

Substance Use Costs and Harms

Canadian Substance Use Costs and Harms online data visualization tool

User Guide

Explore the costs and harms of substance use in Canada and create customized charts and tables

version 1.0

Table of contents

Data available in the tool
Icon reference guide
How to use the tool
Example 1: Creating a stacked bar chart to show the total cost of substance use by substance and cost category in 2014.
Example 2: Creating a time series to show substance use attributable total number of deaths by province and downloading the data as both a graph and table.
Example 3: Creating a map to show standardized rate of inpatient hospitalizations for alcohol across the provinces and territories.
Example 4: Exploring per capita costs of inpatient hospitalizations by province/territory.
Example 5: Comparing per total lost productivity per capita costs from in Ontario vs. Quebec for alcohol, tobacco and opioids from 2007–2014.

Data available in the tool


There are four categories of costs and harms data in the tool. Each category has different outcomes available:

outcome list

There is also a total costs category that is the sum of all four study categories (health, lost productivity, criminal justice, and other costs).

outcome list
The different outcomes can be plotted by costs (either total or per capita), and in some cases by counts and rates (both unstandardized and standardized rates). Their definitions are as follows:
outcome list

Within any of the outcomes, you can then explore by:

  • Substance:alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids, other central nervous system (CNS) depressants, cocaine, other CNS stimulants (including ecstasy) and all other substances (including hallucinogens and inhalants)
  • Province or Territory
  • Year:data currently available from 2007 to 2014

For some1 harms and costs outcomes you can also explore by the variables:

  • Age group: data grouped in the following ranges: 0–14, 15–34, 35–64, 65 and over
  • Sex: for both men and women
  • Health condition: data broken down by health conditions wholly- or partially-attributable to substance use.

1 Age, sex and health condition data available for inpatient hospitalizations and day surgeries. Age and sex data available for emergency department visits and physician time.

See pages 24–28 for a full listing of data available in the tool.

Icon reference guide


outcome list

How to use the tool


Overview

The tool allows users to explore the costs and harms of substance use in Canada, and create and download customized charts, maps and tables.

First, select the type of chart you would like to create. The default setting is a bar chart.

outcome list

Next, there are three tabs in the user interface tray you can use to build, filter and customize your charts, maps and tables. The following steps are common across chart types:

outcome list

Step 6: Export, refresh and start again.

Hints

Use "Select All" in the drop down menu to both select and de-select the full list.

Examples to illustrate key features of the tool


Example 1: Creating a stacked bar chart to show the total cost of substance use by substance and cost category in 2014.
Example 2: Creating a time series to show substance use attributable total number of deaths by province and downloading the data as both a graph and table.
Example 3: Creating a map to show standardized rate of inpatient hospitalizations for alcohol across the provinces and territories.
Example 4: Exploring per capita costs of inpatient hospitalizations by province/territory.
Example 5: Comparing per total lost productivity per capita costs from in Ontario vs. Quebec for alcohol, tobacco and opioids from 2007–2014.

Example 1


Creating a stacked bar chart to show the total cost of substance use by substance and cost category in 2014.

Chart type Bar
Outcome of interest – vertical value (y-axis) Total Costs > Total ($)
Horizontal value Substance
Compare by (Legend) Cost categories
Filters Year: 2014 (by default)

Example 1

Step 1: In “Plot” tab, select Total Costs > Total ($) as your Vertical Value.

Step 2: In “Plot” tab, select Substance as your Horizontal Value.

Step 3: In “Plot” tab, select Cost categories as your Compare By (Legend) value.

Step 4: In “Filters” tab, ensure 2014 is selected for Year.

Step 5: In “Settings” tab, select “Stack Bars”

Step 6: Download as a PDF

You will be prompted to select a file format for your download. Please select from the available options and see the explanation below your selection.

Save your PDF for use!

Use the reset button to reload your browser and start a new chart.

Please download the User Guide (PDF) for detailed instructions and screenshots.

Example 2


Creating a time series to show substance use attributable total number of deaths by province and downloading the data as both a graph and table.

Chart type Time series
Outcome of interest – vertical value (y-axis) Health > Deaths > Counts and Rates > Total counts
Horizontal value Year (time series are always over years)
Compare by (Legend) Provinces
Filters None

Example 2

First, select “Time Series” as your chart type.

Step 1: In “Plot” tab, select Health > Deaths > Counts and Rates > Total Counts.

Step 2: In a time series, the x-axis is locked to years so there’s no need to make a selection for the horizontal value.

Step 3: In “Plot” tab, select Province/Territory as your Compare By (Legend) value.

Step 4: There are no filters to select in this example.

Step 5: There is no further customization in the “Settings” tab in this example.

Step 6: Download the data as both a graph and a data table. The first step is to download the graph.

Next, to view the data table select table from the chart options.

Select the CSV file format to download for Excel.

Reload your browser or refresh the tool page to start a new chart.

Please download the User Guide (PDF) for detailed instructions and screenshots.

Example 3


Creating a map to show standardized rate of inpatient hospitalizations for alcohol across the provinces and territories.

Chart type Map of Canada
Outcome of interest – vertical value (y-axis) Health > Inpatient hospitalizations > Counts and rates > standardized rates
Horizontal value N/A
Compare by (Legend) N/A
Filters Alcohol

Example 3

First, select Map of Canada as your chart type.

Step 1: In “Plot” tab, select Health > Inpatient hospitalizations > Counts and rates > Standardized rates.

Step 2: N/A (No Compared By/Horizontal Value).

Step 3: N/A (No Filters).

Step 4: In the “Filters” tab, select Alcohol from the substance drop down options. Please note you can only filter by one option for each of the variables (i.e., only one substance or only one health condition at a time).

Step 5: In the “Settings” tab, select your desired colour and number of breaks in the data under intervals.

Step 6: Download the map for 2014 as a JPG.

Save image for future use!

Reload your browser or refresh the tool page to start a new chart.

Please download the User Guide (PDF) for detailed instructions and screenshots.

Example 4


Exploring per capita costs of inpatient hospitalizations by province/territory to see:

  1. differences between male and female
  2. differences by age categories
  3. differences by health condition – cancer vs cardiovascular conditions.

Chart type Bar
Outcome of interest – vertical value (y-axis) Health > Inpatient hospitalizations > Costs > Per capita
Horizontal value Provinces/Territory
Compare by (Legend)
  1. Sex
  2. Age
  3. Health Condition - Cancer vs Cardiovascular conditions
Filters Year: 2014 (by default)

Example 4

First, select “Bar Chart” as your chart type.

Step 1: In “Plot” tab, select Health > Inpatient hospitalizations > Costs > Per capita ($)

Step 2: In the “Plot” tab, select Province/Territory as your Horizontal Value

Step 3:

  1. To see the difference per capita costs of inpatient hospitalizations by sex, in the “Plot” tab, select Sex (Male and Female) as your Compare By (Legend) value.
    The chart now displays the different inpatient hospitalizations per capita costs between male and female for 2014.
  2. To see the difference per capita costs of inpatient hospitalizations by age, in the “Plot” tab, select Age as your Compare By (Legend) value.
    The chart now displays the different inpatient hospitalizations per capita costs between age categories for 2014.
  3. Next, to see the difference per capita costs of inpatient hospitalizations for cancers vs. cardiovascular conditions, in the “Plot” tab, select Health Condition as your Compare By (Legend) value.
    The chart now displays the different inpatient hospitalizations per capita costs between cancers and cardiovascular conditions by Province/Territory for 2014.

Please download the User Guide (PDF) for detailed instructions and screenshots.

Example 5


Comparing per total lost productivity per capita costs from in Ontario vs. Quebec for alcohol, tobacco and opioids from 2007–2014.

To compare between two sets of variables – here substance (alcohol and tobacco) as well as province and territory (Ontario and Quebec), you need to create two charts in a series by using the Lock Y-Axis setting. By locking the y-axis, the scale will stay the same between graphs and you will more easily see the differences between outcomes.

Please note the range for different outcomes can very greatly so it may not be possible to lock the y-axis for all selections.

Chart type Time Series
Outcome of interest – vertical value (y-axis) Lost Productivity > All lost productivity > costs > Per capita
Horizontal value Locked to year
Compare by (Legend) Substance > Alcohol, tobacco
Filters Ontario

Chart type Time Series
Outcome of interest – vertical value (y-axis) Lost Productivity > All lost productivity > costs > Per capita
Horizontal value Locked to year
Compare by (Legend) Substance > Alcohol, tobacco
Filters Quebec

Example 5

First, select “Time Series” as your chart type.

Step 1: In the “Plot” tab, select Lost Productivity>All lost productivity>Costs>Per capita ($).

Step 2: In a time series, the x-axis is locked to years so there is no need to make a selection for the horizontal value.

Step 3: In the “Plot” tab, select Substance and check Alcohol and Tobacco from the options.

Step 4: In the “Filters” tab, select Ontario.

Step 5: In the “Settings” tab, select ‘Lock Y-Axis’.

Step 6: Download as a JPG and insert into a Word document to create a side-by-side comparison.

Now, create the second chart (ensuring the y-axis is locked) and only changing the filter option from Ontario to Quebec.

Step 7: Download as a JPG to compare to the first graph in the example.

Now you have two graphs to compare side-by-side. You can also open multiple tabs to compare across graphs.

Please download the User Guide (PDF) for detailed instructions and screenshots.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, developed this online data visualization tool with Pixels and Plans.

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