Injury is a major cause of mortality and morbidity of young people and the cost-effectiveness of many injury prevention programs remains uncertain. This study aimed to analyze the costs and benefits of an injury awareness education program, the P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth) program, for juvenile justice offenders in Western Australia.
Costs and benefits analysis based on effectiveness data from a linked-data cohort study on 225 juvenile justice offenders who were referred to the education program and 3434 who were not referred to the program between 2006 and 2011.
During the study period, there were 8869 hospitalizations and 113 deaths due to violence or traffic-related injuries among those aged between 14 and 21 in Western Australia. The mean length of hospital stay was 4.6 days, a total of 320 patients (3.6%) needed an intensive care admission with an average length of stay of 6 days. The annual cost saved due to serious injury was $3,765 and the annual net cost of running this program was $33,735. The estimated cost per offence prevented, cost per serious injury avoided, and cost per undiscounted and discounted life year gained were $3,124, $42,169, $8,268 and $17,910, respectively. Increasing the frequency of the program from once per month to once per week would increase its cost-effectiveness substantially.
The P.A.R.T.Y. injury education program involving real-life trauma scenarios was cost-effective in reducing subsequent risk of committing violence or traffic-related offences, injuries, and death for juvenile justice offenders in Western Australia.