Treatments for Addiction | Effectiveness and Cost Analysis

The following is part four of a publication from Dr. Brian Jackson.
Part 1 – Introduction to Cost Analysis of U.S. Addictions
Part 2 – Financial Cost of Addictive Disorders
Part 3 – Results from Addiction and Cost Statistics
Part 4 – Treatments for Addiction | Effectiveness and Cost Analysis

The benefits of treatments can be evaluated by considering two main aspects, the effectiveness of the treatment and the cost effectiveness of the treatment.

Effectiveness of Treatment

The effectiveness of treatment does not simply involve the abstinence from the factors causing addiction. Although abstinence is the target, the effectiveness can be measured only in terms of the patient’s health and his social behaviors. Addiction treatments in the present scenario are found beneficial. It can contribute to the significant reduction of usage of addiction causing factors and reduce crimes and abuses. Productivity impairment and family violence are reduced to the maximum extent.

Addiction treatments are found to be effective for 40 to 70 percent of the alcoholic patients and 50 to 60 percent of drug using patients. Treatments for addictions can bring down and eventually reverse the consequences of addiction at a much higher rate than most chronic diseases like asthma and hypertension. Addiction can cause and occur alongside other chronic diseases like tuberculosis, hypertension, and variety of cancers. “Persons with addictive disorders suffer from many of the same medical conditions as non addicted persons, but addiction can interfere with the disease or its management” (Saitz, n.d., p.2, Addiction treatment yields better health care outcomes, para.3). If the patient does not receive adequate treatment for addiction at the right time, the cost of health and medical care can be double that of normal addiction treatment alone. Also, treating addiction helps to yield better health care outcomes for patients.

Cost Effectiveness of Treatment

The facts about addiction paper prepared by the Institute of Research Education and Training in Addictions say that the tax payers save an average of $7.46 for each dollar invested in treating addiction.

Addiction treatments, if given at the right time, can reduce criminal and violent tendencies of the victims thereby contributing to the savings. Social and cultural benefits of treating women with addiction disorders are much greater than the cost of treatment. “A 1997 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology found that drug treatment saves $19,000 per patient in crime-related costs in the year following treatment. Compared with the costs of treatment for addiction ($2,828 for methadone maintenance, $8,920 for residential treatment, and $2,908 for outpatient drug-free treatment) drug treatment can offer immense savings” (The facts about addiction, 2003, p.2, Addictions treatment is cost effective, para.7).

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