Residential addiction treatment demonstrates economic benefits

November 04, 2002

NIDA-funded researchers studying drug treatment in Washington State have found that the benefits of residential drug abuse treatment far exceed its costs. In this study, every $1 invested in residential treatment returned more than $4 in economic benefit to society.

Led by Dr. Michael T. French, the team of researchers from the University of Miami and the University of Washington, estimated the economic costs and benefits of residential addiction treatment at five programs in Washington State that serve publicly funded clients. Program-and client-specific economic cost estimates were derived using data collected on-site with the drug abuse treatment cost analysis program (DATCAP). The researchers found that the average economic cost of treatment for this sample of residential clients was $4,912. The average economic benefit was $21,329. This analysis shows that the average net benefit of residential treatment over just a short follow-up period was $16,418.

WHAT IT MEANS: Although residential treatment is typically more costly than most treatment alternatives, this study provides evidence that the economic benefits of residential addiction treatment far exceed the economic costs.

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The study can be found on-line at the 'In Press' link on the Website of the journal Social Science and Medicine.

NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse

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