According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, over $600 billion is spent each year in the United States due to substance abuse. The abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs incur costs related to decreased work productivity, crime, and subsequent court costs and health care. Consequently, substance abuse treatment may help reduce these costs due to its ability to reduce crime, increase the workforce, and decrease drug-related crimes and accidents.
The Costs and Benefits of Treatment
The length of drug and alcohol addiction treatment varies from individual to individual and depends upon the abused substance, the duration of abuse, and many other factors. Therefore, there is no predetermined length for treatment. Yet, research shows that good outcomes depend upon adequate treatment length. In general, residential or outpatient treatment should be no less than 90 days. Also, research advises more prolonged treatment for maintaining a positive outcome. For opioid addiction, one year is believed to be the minimum amount of treatment time. Furthermore, some individuals may require treatment and maintenance for recovery for years. Even though treatment itself incurs a cost, it also reduces health and society costs.
How Treatment Reduces Costs
Treatment for substance abuse is significantly less expensive than incarceration. The average cost per individual for one year of treatment may be as much as $5,000, whereas one year of imprisonment costs almost five times as much, or $24,000. Therefore, for every one dollar invested in treatment for substance abuse, there is a return of between four to seven dollars. The difference is due to reductions in court costs, incarceration costs, thefts, or other drug-related crime attributed to the treatment and recovery of addicted individuals. When accounting for healthcare savings, for every one dollar invested in treatment, there is a return of up to $12. Thus, increased work productivity decreased drug-related accidents and crimes, and reduced interpersonal conflicts also incur savings due to successful treatment programs.
Although there is a cost to treatment, the costs of drug or alcohol addiction are much higher. Physical, mental, and psychological costs are incredibly detrimental to the substance abuser, their friends, and family members. Furthermore, costs to society are significantly higher due to substance abuse in the form of court costs, incarceration, and health-related costs. Receiving treatment and maintaining recovery is achievable, and there is hope for a better future. At Fort Worth Recovery, we offer a nurturing space to support clients on their road to long-lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, call us today at 817-381-9741 or visit us online.