Cost of Addiction: From Drug Production to Usage to Rehab

woman paying the cost of addictionMany of the steepest costs are things to which you can’t assign a dollar value. How do you determine the “cost”, for example, of missing your son’s graduation or ruining your marriage or career? Since 80 percent of neglect and child abuse cases involve substance abuse, what does that “expense” mean? (Forbes)But even if you just look at the things that do have pretty clear-cut monetary values, the cost of being an addict is one that can easily overwhelm most average people. There are lots of studies and articles that detail how much addicts are costing the country as a whole, but it isn’t as easy to find information on what an individual can expect to pay. Obviously, there’s going to be quite a wide range on this one, but even knowing the average cost tells you a lot. Let’s break it down item by item and figure out what your habit is really costing you.

Paying for the drug

In a recent Forbes article, you can find information on how much people are estimated to be paying for specific chemical substances. At the top of the list are heroin and cocaine, with annual costs of around $10,000 and $9,000, respectively. Other drugs are significantly less, but even using marijuana on a daily basis will cost you about $1,000 a year, and using three six-packs of beer a week to determine the cost of alcoholism is kind of like calculating grocery costs by using all generic products.

Health problems

It’s hard to get real numbers on how much extra individual addicts can expect to spend on medical services, but by doing a little simple math you can get an idea. Healthcare costs related to addiction are estimated to be about $11 billion dollars in the United States. The number of addicts is said to be around 23 million. If you divide those two numbers, you can see that each addict is spending roughly an extra $500 each year on medical care.

Legal cases

People with substance abuse problems average more DUIs and other kinds of arrests than their sober counterparts. Let’s just look at a DUI, since that is the most common way for an addict to face arrest. An article from this June on MSN Money puts the average cost of a single DUI at over $12,000!


The cost of treatment facilities and programs varies wildly, from luxury rehabs that can be thousands a day to outpatient treatment that’s far, far less. But if you decide that you need inpatient care and can’t afford to wait for months or years until a spot opens up at a free rehab, you will likely be paying anywhere from $20,000 to $32,000 to stay there from four to six weeks. (NY Times)

These aren’t the only costs, either. You insurance will go up if you have more health issues or moving violations. You’ll lose money by missing out on work. And substance abusers overall tend to earn less than their sober counterparts, meaning you probably don’t have as much money to begin with. If you have a problem, the best thing you can do is work hard to take care of it early.

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