The Cost of Addiction Part 1: Why Don’t We Fairly Fund Addiction Treatment?

Addiction and risky use constitute the largest preventable and most costly health problems facing the U.S. Addiction and risky use cause or contribute to more than 70 other conditions requiring medical care, including cancer, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, pregnancy complications, cirrhosis, ulcers and trauma.

Addiction By the Numbers*:

“¢ 468 billion dollars ““ the cost of addiction to government ALONE in the U.S.

“¢ 40 billion dollars in Canada (2002 dollars)

“¢ Of costs associated with addiction: 95 cents of every dollar went to pay for the consequences of substance use

“¢ 1.9 cents spent on prevention or treatment

“¢ 80% of inmates in the U.S and Canada have a substance use disorder

*Source: The National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University: “Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap between Science and Practice (2012).

The infographic below shows that, comparatively speaking, addictions treatment doesn’t get the money it deserves. Mike and I feel we don’t fund addiction treatment to the extent we should, because many ““ even in the medical profession ““ still believe addiction is a moral failing, which translates into, “you need to hit rock bottom,” and until you do, go suffer some more.

In our next post, we will discuss the monetary costs of this suffering to you, the taxpayer.

The Cost of Addiction Infographic 1

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