Why Is Addiction Treatment So Expensive?

Why Is Addiction Treatment So Expensive?

Addiction treatment is expensive because of the staff, lodging, food, medication and other amenities offered but is far less expensive than remaining in addiction

One of the reasons that people avoid getting help for their drug addiction is the cost associated with treatment. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the cost for outpatient addiction treatment averages about $10,000 while inpatient treatment ranges from $20,000 to $32,000 depending on the services needed. Much of this addiction treatment cost can be covered by insurance or with some (government) financial assistance. However, many people think that the cost of treatment is still too steep. They don’t understand why addiction treatment is so expensive. Reasons treatment is expensive include the following:

  • Professional staff – Drug treatment facilities are staffed with a team of people who help an addict. These include physicians and nurses who oversee detox and medication, psychiatrists and certified alcoholism and substance abuse counselors, who work with the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction and walk the journey of recovery with the addict. The facilities will often hire other professionals like social workers, dieticians and fitness instructors.
  • Support staff – A support staff works behind the scenes at a treatment facility to ensure that their clients’ needs are met. Cleaning crews, maintenance crews, administrative assistance, financial analysts and many other people are critical to the functioning and success of a treatment facility.
  • Lodging – Think of rehab as staying in a hotel for 30 days. According to Travel and Leisure, the average cost of a night in a hotel can range from $100 to $250 per night. At the low end, 30-days of rehab lodging would average $3,000. Fortunately, most rehabs do not charge that much per night. In addition, the cost lowers when people share living quarters like a dorm in college.
  • Cost of food – Food costs increase every year. According to the S. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, the average cost for food for a week a person age 19-50 can range from approximately $40 to $90. That translates to an average of $200 to $360 per month. This does not include the cost of actually preparing the food, which requires personnel.
  • Medication – While you undergo detox, you may be prescribed medication to help ease the symptoms of withdraw because they can be painful to endure. These medications, along with any other medications you take while you are in rehab, are included in the cost of addiction treatment.

This breakdown of costs for treatment does not include expenses like building upkeep, insurance, utilities and other costs of running a facility. It is also important to remember that all of these costs will vary widely depending on the level of treatment you receive as well as the amenities offered at a facility. Private rooms, massages, luxury food and other expenditures can increase significantly the cost of treatment.

The Costs of Not Getting Treatment

While the cost of treatment may seem steep, think of the cost of not getting treatment. When balance against these factors, addiction treatment is worth the cost. Costs of addiction include the following:

  • Costs of drugs – The Office of National Drug Control Policy reported that chronic cocaine, heroin and meth addicts spend about $1000 per month on drugs. This figure could be much higher depending on the purity of the drug and the amount an addict uses. While other drugs might be less expensive, the monthly costs of addiction add up quickly. This is why many addicts steal money and items from others. The money is needed to feed their addiction.
  • Medical expenses – Think about the physical damage drugs inflict on your body. Side effects could range from sinus infections and bronchitis to liver, kidney and heart failure. According to the Substance Abuse Policy Research Program, one study showed that getting treatment for addiction led to a 30 percent reduction in medical care costs.
  • Legal expenses – When you abuse drugs, you could face serious legal consequences. You could be arrested for public intoxication, driving under the influence or even more serious charges for high-risk behavior while you’re on drugs. You will need the help of a lawyer to help navigate the legal process, and those costs can be extensive depending on the severity of your offense.
  • Lost wages – According to the S. Department of Labor, addicts are 2.2 times more likely to leave early or take time off. Addicts are 2.5 times more likely to miss eight or more days of work because of their addiction. These absences can adversely affect your paycheck. In addition, many addicts lose their jobs because of their addictions, which only creates more financial hardship.

When compared to the cost of remaining in addiction, the long-term financial incentives for getting help far outweigh the benefits of remaining in addiction. Every day you stay in addiction is another day that will cost you financially.

Paying for Treatment

The good news is that most insurance companies provide some level of coverage for addiction treatment. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the new Affordable Care Act requires most insurance companies to provide some level of care for people who struggle with a drug addiction. Your insurance company benefits sheet should list the amount it will cover in a single year.

Getting Help for Your Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, we can help. You can call our toll-free helpline any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can talk with one of our admissions coordinators about your symptoms, and together, you can determine the best treatment options for you. We can help you find a treatment facility that fits within your budget, and we can even contact your insurance company free of charge to find out the benefits available to you. The costs of not getting help are too steep. Call us today, and start on the path to recovery.