It is a refrain commonly heard among active addicts in the San Diego area –
“I KNOW I need to get sober, but I simply can’t afford to go to rehab!”
Taken at face value, some skeptics will find it difficult to accept that statement. How can the same individual who somehow found the money to finance their drug habit now complain that addiction treatment is just not within their budget?
Looking at it another way, however, there just might be a nugget of honesty in those words, at least in the mind of the addict. Substance abuse is often supported by other illicit, sometimes criminal activities. Drug rehabilitation, on the other hand, has to be paid for by more legitimate means.
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Let’s examine this unequal equation and see if it can be brought into balance.
How Much Does Drug Addiction REALLY Cost?
Substance abuse takes an almost unimaginable toll on society. Every community in the country, including San Diego, is negatively affected drug abuse and addiction. According to statistics listed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- Substance abuse in the US– smoking, illegal drugs, and alcohol – costs more than $700 BILLION annually:
- Alcohol – $224 BILLION
- Illegal Drugs – $193 BILLION
- Smoking – $295 BILLION
- Those numbers are in line with those of other chronic conditions – diabetes – $245 billion, cancer – $125 billion, and more than $300 billion for strokes/heart disease.
The human cost is just as staggering. Although the US government does not individually list the death rates for each specific drug, available statistics show that:
- From 2001-2013, overdose deaths in the United States due to opioid pain medication increased threefold. During the same period:
- Deaths due to overdoses of benzodiazepines rose fourfold.
- Deaths due to cocaine overdoses increased by 29%.
- Deaths due to heroin overdoses increased fivefold.
San Diego, just like the rest of California and the rest of the nation, is not immune to the devastating impact of drug abuse. Some examples:
According to the San Diego County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force:
- Between 2009 and 2012, the number of emergency room discharges related to pain killers in San Diego County rose from 2231, a rate of 3 per 100,000 residents to 3791, a rate of 121.2.
- In the five-year period, 2009-2013, heroin seizures at San Diego County ports of entry rose from 8 kilograms to 688.8 kilograms.
- During the same time, the adult arrestees who tested positive for heroin rose from 7% to 12%.
- Individuals admitted to treatment with heroin as the primary drug of choice increased from 4% to 24.8 %.
- A report coming from the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Diego shows that from 2001-2013, the rate of amphetamine-involved drug deaths more than doubled, from a rate of 03 per 100,000 residents to 5.36.
Costs to the Individual
Even though drug usage is highly specific to addicted person, the estimated costs for a substance abuser with a significant habit can be extrapolated:
- a two-gram-a-day heroin habit can cost over $50,000 per year
- non-prescription habits of hydrocodone, oxycodone, or Vicodin can cost up to $40-50 thousand per year, while an OxyContin addiction can cost over $100,000 per year
- a significant methamphetamine addiction can cost more than $30,000 per year
- a heavy marijuana smoker in San Diego will spend around $10,000 per year
- even an alcoholic “only” drinking two six-packs of inexpensive beer per day can spend over $3500
None of these dollar amounts takes into account how substance abuse can affect families and society –its impact upon families and children, criminal charges, and the scourge of generational addiction. Children who have parents that abuse drugs are up to 80% more likely to also abuse drugs than the rest of the American population.
The Cost of Addiction Treatment
Because the specifics of a person’s addiction can vary so considerably – the severity and length of the addiction, the substance abused, etc. – the exact costs for an individual’s treatment plan are hard to state with total accuracy.
It is possible, however, to give some “ballpark” approximations for the daily costs of professional addiction treatment in the San Diego area. Because different drug detox and rehabilitation facilities each use their own strategies and offer their own menu of services, these prices are only intended as a “jumping off” point from which further research should be conducted.
The accepted consensus within the addiction treatment community is that 90 days of some combination of residential and outpatient treatment is the shortest acceptable length if the program is to have any effectiveness.
It can be longer in some cases. For incidents, 12 months is the minimum length for a methadone maintenance program. If a medication-assisted maintenance strategy is employed to reduce the cravings of an opiate addict, the treatment plan can even last years.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the typical costs are:
Detox – a medically-assisted detox might run as much as $500 per day. Some drug rehabilitation facilities will include the detox with their services. A drug detox will typically last 3 to 14 days, depending upon the specific circumstances.
- Addiction Treatment, Outpatient –$10,000
- Alcohol/Drug Rehab, residential – as low as $8000 and up to $32,000 per month
- Methadone Maintenance –$5000 per year
- Luxury Drug Rehab Programs can cost exponentially more, up to $80,000 per month
The Bottom Line
It is very evident that professional addiction treatment is not inexpensive. It is just as obvious, however, that it will cost much less than the addiction itself, both in human terms and financially.
The Affordable Health Care Act and other forms of private insurance can make professional addiction treatment more financially possible. This means that the only significant “out-of-pocket” expense would only be any co-pays or deductibles.
Many individuals trying to recover from addiction jointly decide with their families to do whatever it takes to afford drug rehab –taking out a loan or second mortgage, selling property, etc. They understand that any financial sacrifice they make today buys their best chance for a better future.
Lasting Recovery is IN NETWORK for all commercial health insurance plus TRICARE to provide Outpatient Treatment services. Getting help now, couldn’t be easier!