Hidden Cost of Addiction

It is not really possible to put an actual dollar figure on the cost of an addiction, especially when many of the costs are not connected to the drug of choice alone. Time spent away from your family and the toll that the addiction takes on you emotionally cannot be measured. There are two very different ways to look at the cost of addiction, a personal look at the cost of an individual’s addiction and the national cost of addiction.

When looking at the personal cost of addiction, first and foremost is the cost of the drugs/alcohol but often that is just the beginning:

  • loss of productivity from work due to absenteeism, fewer promotions and an increased risk of unemployment;
  • cost of legal bills;
  • DUI conviction means driving record has 2 points for 13 years;
  • Cost of annual auto insurance increase over 13 years: $40,000;
  •  Drug and alcohol abuse is among the top 3 reasons students fail to complete their high school education;
  •  According to the Department of Labor Statistics in 2011, someone without a high school diploma faced an unemployment rate of 14.1% compared to 9.4% for those with a High School Diploma. Consequently those without a High School diploma earned $451/week in 2011 compared to $638/week for those who received a High School Diploma;
  • Social Security and retirement benefits are tied to earned income.

The bigger national picture of the cost of addiction is staggering:

  • Estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States, including productivity and health and crime related costs exceed $600 billion annually;
  • According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, most abuse-related spending went toward direct health care costs (lung disease, cirrhosis, overdoses, etc.) or law enforcement. Just over 2 percent of the total went to prevention, treatment and addiction research;
  • This same study also states that the best drug treatment programs pay for themselves 12 times over because patients who succeed have quick improvements in health and behavior;
  • The NCBI report applied some very specific algorithms to determine that every dollar spent on treatment, yielded, on average $18 in economic benefit.

The cost of treatment cannot compare to the cost of the addiction, not to mention the many health and emotional costs associated with chemical dependency. If you or a loved one is suffering, please make the call and get the help you need. The PRIDE Institute can help (800) 547-7433.