Recognizing the Correlation Between Drug Abuse And Healthcare Costs
Addiction of any kind can be costly for everyone involved: the person with the addiction, their family, friends, and the entire community. The NIDA estimates that substance abuse cost the United States upwards of $700 billion every year, with around $200 billion going towards healthcare alone. It is safe to say that drug abuse definitely does have an effect on the healthcare system.
The Cost of Prevention
A large portion of the healthcare system is dedicated to preventing drug and alcohol abuse and educating people on their dangers. This is done through outreach programs at hospitals and schools, training for medical professionals, and research on the causes of addiction.
The intent with spending money to prevent addiction is that it will cost less in the long run. If effective prevention means that fewer people are using drugs, then there is less money being spent on treatment and recovery.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things work, and more money in the healthcare system is being dedicated towards prevention every year.
The Cost of Treatment
Many insurance plans will cover or contribute to the cost of drug abuse treatment.
The treatment process for drug abuse can be a long one, with multiple factors affecting the outcome. It largely depends on the type of drug, the person themselves, how long they’ve been addicted, and the amount of damage the drug has done.
The NIDA suggests that treatment can help reduce health and social costs associated with drug addiction, often at amounts far more than the treatment’s cost. Things like incarceration, which costs roughly $24,000 per person per year, are noticeably costly when compared to treatment options like methadone maintenance, which costs about $4,700 per year per patient.
Treatment costs can often be covered through insurance, but it depends on the company, the plan the person has, and the treatment facility. Of course, the length of the treatment and the amount of care that is required for the person to reach recovery can also bring the cost up.
On average, the treatment costs for drug and substance abuse can be the cheapest part of the addiction, and there are many ways to help alleviate fees. Research groups and non-profits, when they are an option, tend to take a large portion of the burden of treatment costs from the patient and the healthcare system.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is the federal group that monitors the legal aspects of drug abuse. They are one of many organizations dedicated to combating drug and substance abuse. The concept of a “war on drugs” can affect healthcare costs simply by giving the medical community an idea of the reach drugs currently have.
Many federal groups do research on addiction, how it develops, the damage it does, and how to treat it. As a result, new information is made available and the healthcare system adapts in order to be as prepared as possible. As research and the information that comes from it costs money, the total price of drug abuse for the healthcare system is constantly fluctuating.
If you or a loved one has an addiction, please know that help is available. Contact us through our website or call us at 800-481-6320 for more information and the chance to talk with one of our caring specialists.
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