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FAQ: Cost-Effectiveness of Drug Treatment

11. Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost?

addiction-articles-102-healthyplaceDrug addiction treatment is cost-effective in reducing drug use and its associated health and social costs. Treatment is less expensive than alternatives, such as not treating drug addicts or simply incarcerating addicts. For example, the average cost for 1 full year of methadone maintenance treatment is approximately $4,700 per patient, whereas 1 full year of imprisonment costs approximately $18,400 per person.

Drug addiction treatment is cost-effective in reducing drug use and its associated health and social costs.

According to several conservative estimates, every $1 invested in drug addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 and $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft alone. When savings related to health care are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12 to 1. Major savings to the individual and society also come from significant drops in interpersonal conflicts, improvements in workplace productivity, and reductions in drug-related accidents.

National Institute of Drug Abuse, "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide."

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APA Reference
Writer, H. (2009, January 2). FAQ: Cost-Effectiveness of Drug Treatment, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/addictions/articles/is-drug-addiction-treatment-worth-cost

Last Updated: April 26, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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