Unforeseen Benefits: Addiction Treatment Reduces Health Care Costs
Addiction is a pervasive yet treatable chronic health condition. Often it occurs alongside other chronic diseases. If untreated, the addicted person's medical care becomes more costly due to secondary health conditions. When treated, addiction leads to better health care outcomes.
This paper demonstrates how addiction treatment will contribute to containing costs in reforming America's health system. Studies show that addiction treatment significantly reduces emergency room, inpatient and total health care costs.
While the overall cost savings have not been documented, there are clear signs of the potential for savings. For example:
- One out of every 14 hospital stays—2.3 million stays—was related to substance disorders in 2004, a federal study found.
- Total medical costs were reduced 26 percent among one group of patients that received addiction treatment.
- A group of at-risk alcohol users who received brief counseling recorded 20 percent fewer emergency department visits and 37 percent fewer days of hospitalization.
In Their Own Words
Farmers in Myanmar Call for Justice
A new report, produced by opium farmers themselves, highlights the urgent need to reform an antidrug policy regime that all too often leaves families vulnerable to coercion, corruption, and brutal exploitation.
Public Health First
Incarceration Should Not Be a Death Sentence
Despite earlier promises to fight the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of nonviolent offenders in jails and prisons, governments worldwide are dragging their feet and prioritizing the drug war ahead of public health.
How Authoritarianism Fuels the War on Drugs
While the world’s attention has shifted to the COVID-19 pandemic, the harms and injustices of the “war on drugs” are not only continuing; they’re being intensified. What can civil society reformers do in response?