The Expense of Substance Abuse

The Expense of Substance Abuse

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

The financial costs of substance abuse are often overlooked. Despite spending large amounts on drugs and alcohol, many people fail to acknowledge the negative impact drugs have on their financial lives. If not addressed promptly, substance abuse can lead to a downward spiral of debt and financial ruin. The financial costs of substance abuse can be both immediate and long-term. This article will examine those costs and explore why it’s important to get help.

Direct Costs: The Price of the Substance Abuse

The financial costs of substance abuse can be devastating and are an often-overlooked side effect of addiction. Understanding the true cost of substance abuse can be an important first step in recognizing one’s problems with addiction. Both alcohol and drug dependence can be to blame for an unbalanced checkbook.

The Costs of Alcohol Addiction

A person who is addicted to alcohol often pays a heavy price – quite literally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted that a person who drinks excessively (14 drinks per week) would spend around $5,096 annually on alcohol. Many people work just enough to pay for their alcohol addiction, never getting ahead on their finances. This cycle of drinking and working can lead to job loss as well. Losing a job can easily perpetuate the cycle of poverty as a person continues to try to find just enough money to support their alcohol dependence.

The Costs of Drug Addiction

Drug use also takes a toll on one’s finances. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in the 1990s and 2000s, the number of deaths brought on by addiction significantly increased. This was a result of the widespread prescription of opioid medicines. With the rise in opioid consumption, the price that comes along with it is far heftier than alcohol addiction.

The average annual cost of an opioid addiction varies according to the extent of the addiction, the person’s location, and the prescription. Insurance companies may unintentionally finance addictions because many people with opioid dependence obtain their supply from their doctors.

For instance, 100 pills of Vicodin, the brand name for acetaminophen/hydrocodone, cost roughly $126, or one.26 cents per tablet. The same tablet, however, costs $5 on the open market or $500 for a bottle of 100. People may go for cheaper substitutes like heroin and fentanyl because these drugs are so expensive on prescription and the black market, which adds to the financial strain of addiction.

Indirect Costs: Loss of Health

One of the most devastating indirect costs of substance abuse is the toll it takes on one’s health. Many individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol don’t consider their health a priority. This will ultimately lead to serious medical issues such as liver disease, lung cancer, and heart problems. The accumulated medical bills can be overwhelming and further wreak havoc on already strained finances and mental health.

Substance abuse can also lead to an increased risk of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and paranoia. These conditions can be difficult to cope with and expensive to treat. By choosing to indulge in substance abuse, a person can expect to see a negative impact on their overall health which can lead to financial instability.

Economic Burden: The Overall Cost to Society

The economic burden of substance abuse in the United States is massive. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it’s estimated that the total costs associated with illicit drug and alcohol use are around $740 billion. Lost productivity, crime, medical care, and social welfare make up the lion’s share of this expense.

When examining the costs of heroin addiction, a 1996 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence showed that the overall costs to society were $21.9 billion. The council attributed the largest portion of this expense to lost productivity, making up 53% ($11.5 billion) of the total amount. Next were criminal activities which constituted 24% ($5.2 billion), followed by medical care at 23% ($5 billion).

The costs of substance abuse are not only felt by the addict and their family but also by society at large. This is why investment in prevention and treatment is so important. It reduces addiction’s economic burden.

Getting Help

At First Steps Recovery, we understand substance abuse’s physical, psychological, and financial effects. We are here to provide the tools and resources to help those in need on their journey to sobriety. Our certified specialists have the expertise and compassion to help people begin to lead healthy, productive lives.

We offer personalized treatment plans tailored to the individual needs of each client. Our comprehensive program is designed to help people get back on track and stay sober for the long term. We are committed to helping people take the first steps on their path to recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, please don’t hesitate to contact us for help. Let us help you start your journey to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Addiction has far-reaching effects on your life. It goes beyond impacting your health. It detracts from your finances, relationships, and goals. This domino effect can wreck lives and destroy families in the process. You don’t have to continue to allow addiction to affect your life and hamper your financial goals. At First Steps Recovery, we understand how imperative your recovery is, and we are prepared to help you fight every step of the way. Our beautiful facility is surrounded by farmland and provides a safe place to begin your healing journey. We will walk you through each stage of recovery and help you figure out how to get your life back. Please contact First Steps Recovery at (844) 489-0836.

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