The Cost of Addiction

Whether an individual suffers from alcoholism or a drug addiction, the monetary value of rehab is usually much greater than the cost of maintaining an addiction.

The Monetary Value of Rehab vs. the Financial Cost of Addiction

The financial cost of addiction can far outweigh the cost of rehab. For individuals suffering from chronic substance use disorders (SUDs), it’s not uncommon to spend thousands of dollars a year to maintain an addiction. Additionally, the financial toll of alcoholism or a drug addiction spreads beyond the individual, affecting family, work, and society.

To help calculate the monetary value of rehab, the following numbers represent the cost of paying for an addiction.

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The Annual Cost of Addiction to Alcohol:  $4,500+

Many don’t fully consider the cost of an alcohol addiction because alcohol is a legal substance consumed frequently in public spaces. However, alcoholism requires an individual to drink more and more over time to get the same effect. Thus, a single beer a night can quickly become a 12-pack. Finishing an $11 12-pack every three days will cost about $1,338 in a year. Spending $60 a weekend going out to drink will cost $3,120 in a year.

Still, heavy drinkers or those who engage in frequent binge drinking, generally consume even more (4 or more drinks in 2 hours for women and 5 or more for men). More than 7 drinks per week for women and more than 14 for men is considered high-risk for an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). These individuals are more likely to spend between $4,500 and $6,000, or more, in a year.

The Annual Cost of Addiction to Marijuana: $7,000+

Though Marijuana is not considered to be as addictive as other illicit substances, it is still a Schedule 1 drug (a category for drugs with low medical efficacy and high addiction potential). In California, the average cost of weed per ounce is $200. On average, an ounce yields 42 joints and when an individual smokes 4 per day, they’ll spend approximately $7,000 per year.

The Annual Cost of Addiction to Cocaine: $8,000+

According to recent reports in Business Insider, the price of Cocaine has remained steady for decades. A pure gram is about $150, with most spending around $100 for less-potent amounts. This is commonly broken down into about 10 lines or an average of 25 “bumps.” Commonly, Cocaine is abused with other illicit substance like Marijuana, alcohol, or other stimulants (Ecstasy or Meth). A gram of Cocaine may last a few hours, a day, or weeks depending on the severity of addiction. The severe addiction-sufferer can easily spend $100 per day or $36,500 a year; most will spend between $8,000 and $10,000 yearly.

The Annual Cost of Addiction to Heroin: $54,000+

The High Costs Of Addiction Can Lead To Such Severe Consequences As EvictionIn 2016, almost a million Americans reported using Heroin, and 626,000 qualified as having a Heroin Use Disorder. Because Heroin is a heavily-manufactured drug, the price can vary widely depending on area and purity. A single dose of Heroin can cost anywhere from $5 to $20. Those with a “hardcore” addiction have reportedly spent between $150 and $200 a day, or about $54,000 in a year. The median US household in 2016 wasn’t much more, totaling almost $59,000 annually.

The Annual Cost of Addiction to Prescription Opioids: $3,500 to $70,000+

The Opioid Epidemic has resulted in millions of Americans becoming dependent on Opioids. An Opioid addiction can be the most expensive to individuals – whether they obtain painkillers from a doctor or buy Heroin on the street. Making matters worse, research shows that insurance companies have frequently pushed cheaper, more addictive prescription Opioids over less-addictive alternatives. For example, long-acting Morphine has a higher risk for addiction, but many insurance companies place it in the lowest-cost tier. Conversely, Buprenorphine brands like Butrans have a lower risk for addiction, yet two-thirds of insurers don’t cover the drug.

Common Opioid prices are:

OpioidAvg. Prescription Price per pillAvg. Street Price per pill
Vicodin$1.50$5 to $25
Percocet$6$10 to $15
Hydrocodone$1.50$5 to $20
Oxycodone$6$12 to $40
OxyContin$6$50 to $80

The yearly cost of an Opioid addiction also varies depending on the severity of the addiction (or how many pills an individual takes daily). For instance, the average retail price of 60 tablets of OxyContin is $203. Taken three times daily, maintaining an addiction would cost $3,654 via prescription or an average of $70,200/year on the street. Yet, because addictions require increasing amounts of the same substance to feel “normal” and even more on top of that to get high, the true cost of an Opioid addiction is likely higher.

The Monetary Value of Rehab to the US Economy

Addiction and substance abuse cost the US more than $740 billion a year in lost work productivity, healthcare, and costs related to crime. However, research has shown that for every dollar spent on addiction treatment, $4 are saved in healthcare costs and $7 in law enforcement and criminal justice costs. Yet, over 23 million Americans need substance abuse treatment and only 2.6 million received it.

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The Monetary Value of Rehab and Recovery

The monetary value of rehab to the individual is about 7 to 1, in substance spending versus rehabilitation costs. On average, addiction treatment costs $1,583 per patient; most will spend this on substances in a few months. Additionally, a year of Methadone treatment is about $6,000 per year or $115 per week. That same time in jail could set an individual back more than $18,000 (states like Florida allow inmates to be charged $50/day for incarceration).

Whether it’s alcoholism or the cost of a painkiller addiction, substance-dependent people commonly overspend to maintain their addiction. This can bring even more stress into already-strained situations. Reaching out and seeking recovery can be the best next step for anyone suffering from an addiction. Contact a dedicated treatment expert today to get help.

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