SOURCE: Drug Rehab Referral

September 25, 2007 00:01 ET

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Costs a Fraction of the Cost of Addiction

A Successful Drug and Alcohol Rehab Program Could Save Billions for U.S. Taxpayers

TAMPA, FL--(Marketwire - September 25, 2007) - Substance abuse costs the taxpayers of America more than a quarter of a trillion dollars a year -- enough to pay for every one of the estimated 21 million alcohol and illicit drug abusers in the country to receive medically-supervised alcohol and drug rehab programs, with tens of millions of dollars left over.

The $300 billion a year costs of substance abuse estimated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse includes all costs related to alcohol and drug addictions -- lost wages, loss of business profitability, welfare costs, health care costs, and criminal justice and incarceration costs. Of course, no one can put a price tag on the heartache of ruined families and thousands of unnecessary deaths that could possibly have been avoided if alcohol and drug rehab programs were more widely available.

"Addiction to drugs and alcohol doesn't just stay home ruining family life," said Eric Mitchell, founder of Drug Rehab Referral, a company dedicated to helping people find the right alcohol or drug treatment for their situation. "It spreads out into the workplace, causing health problems and decreased performance for both the addict and working members of the addict's family."

According to a recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), most of the nation's 16.4 million illicit drug users and 15 million heavy alcohol users hold full-time jobs. The SAMHSA survey found that 8.2 percent of the 115 million U.S. workers aged 18 to 64 (or 9.5 million people) used illicit drugs, and 8.8 percent or 10.2 million people were heavy alcohol users.

"Addicts are often very skilful at hiding their addictions," Mr. Mitchell said, "so employers and coworkers may not recognize what's causing the individual's decreased productivity. They miss the opportunity to recommend an alcohol or drug rehab program to help improve the situation, or even save a family or a life."

The SAMHSA report also says that workers who use illicit drugs are less likely than nonusers to be employed by companies that have drug or alcohol testing policies and programs. Mr. Mitchell observed that drug testing appears to be helping, but it's difficult to know for certain whether or not substance abusers simply avoid such companies and instead seek work elsewhere.

A California study has shown that alcohol and drug rehab treatment offers a benefit-to-cost ratio of 7:1. For example, if the cost to taxpayers of treating 150,000 people were $250 million, the benefits from that treatment are worth about $1.75 billion in taxpayer savings.

"Implementing policies that effectively treat substance abuse and dependence will lead to increased productivity and profitability in the workplace, and decreased costs to the criminal justice and social services systems," Mr. Mitchell said. "On a personal level, the value of successful drug and alcohol rehab programs are incalculable."

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. If you would like help overcoming your own or a family member's addiction problem through a successful drug and alcohol rehab program, or for advice regarding professional intervention, contact Drug Rehab Referral.

Contact Information

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    Eric Mitchell