Healthcare Costs Involved in Treating Drug Addiction
What is Addiction Costing You?
Drug abuse costs our nation almost $500B a year. The type of expenses range from the obvious to the surprising to the gross. Among the more expected expenses are:
- Loss of productivity
In a sense, the true costs are incalculable. How do we calculate the cost of incompetence in the public and private sector? How many people are late to work due to one drug-related accident? How many of those people will be fired as a result of being late one too many times?
How many families are left without an income earner? How many children are left without reliable parents, and have to be relocated into foster care? Like the butterfly effect, one drug user incurs costs on society that go well beyond the dollars and cents.
But the real question has nothing to do with society as a whole. It is about the cost to you and your family. How much is addiction costing you? Here are some possible costs you may not have considered:
The Cost of Recovery
Recovery from addiction is a lot like open-heart surgery. It is the cure for a very serious problem. But it is not without its costs. The money is just one part of the equation, most of which is covered by insurance for those who have it. For those who don't, it is a serious medical expense for which there is almost certainly no budget.
Even if the addiction is to prescription medication as opposed to something illicit, medical treatment may still be required, as in the case of Suboxone. According to the information on this page:
A person should not try to discontinue the drug alone due to the potential withdrawal effects and other unforeseen medical issues that may arise, such as increased physical pain that was controlled by using the drug. Physicians are best equipped to handle these issues.
If you are already addicted to a drug or alcohol, treatment is the best outcome. But before taking your first taste, be sure to add the cost of treatment.
The Cost of Illness
Recovery is just one of the many costs of illness (COI). Experts have this to say about the matter:
The method for determining the costs associated with alcohol addiction is a metric known as the Cost of Illness (COI). The COI includes the costs of healthcare services as well as loss of productivity from illness or injury, and other expenses or loss of resources as a result of an injury or health condition.
It is easy to forget that the addictive substance of choice tends to be quite expensive. If it is an illicit, highly addictive substance, the cost of acquisition can turn the wealthy into paupers.
Then, there are the missed work days that lead to a smaller paycheck, which leads to eventual unemployment. In turn, that leads to taking out ever more risky, high-interest loans that turn your molehill of debt into a mountain.
Healthcare costs include doctor's visits, emergency room visits, medication, and all other expenses associated with increased injuries and decreased health.
The Cost of Lost Trust
At the end of the day, one of the greatest costs of addiction is the loss of trust. Love is not enough to conquer all. Relationships cannot survive without trust. The one thing common to all addicts, regardless of the substance, is that they cannot be trusted.
Everything about them is compromised, from their financial judgement, to their performance of basic responsibilities. You wouldn't knowingly leave your kids in the care of an addict. You wouldn't have an addict watch the house for your while you are away. Yet you are often forced to do just that when a family member is addicted to drugs.
Trust is particularly expensive because, once lost, it is almost impossible to fully recover. That, along with cost of illness and cost of recovery, make addictive behavior among the most expensive things you can engage in.
Viatcheslav Wlassoff, PhD, is a scientific and medical consultant with experience in pharmaceutical and genetic research. He has an extensive publication history on various topics related to medical sciences. He worked at several leading academic institutions around the globe to get new innovation around the world's best brains.