The price of addiction is expensive in a variety of different ways. First, the cost of addiction when it comes to your personal health and well-being can’t easily be quantified. Losing the sense of who you are through addiction is one of the worst situations that those suffering from this disease must face. The amount of money that it costs to maintain an addiction is why so many people resort to theft, robbery, or other crimes to support their habit. Something that’s not often talked about though is the cost of addiction on the United States economy.

How Does Addiction Affect the Economy?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the addiction crisis in the United States is costing the country over $700 billion [1]. A large portion of this cost comes from direct and indirect consequences of drug- and alcohol-related crime. Many of the people in prison are there due to crimes associated with substance abuse. Addiction is the constant use of the substance in order to survive due to a developed physical dependence. In survival mode, people have no problem stealing from a business or person to feed their habit.

Another contributing factor to this great financial burden is the lack of work productivity. Those who are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol are much more likely to not go into work or not have a job. Our economy thrives with people being employed, making money, and buying goods and services with the money they make as well as contributing in taxes. When a person is not showing up to work or losing jobs, the lost productivity can drain the company they work for as well as the economy.

Healthcare is another major reason for the high cost of addiction. Many people who become addicted lose their jobs, so they don’t have health insurance. This means they either go on their state’s insurance, or they don’t have insurance at all. The New York Times posted new statistics about overdose deaths, but there are also the thousands of people who survive fatal overdoses. Each person who is revived costs money both in cost of care as well as recovery. When they don’t have insurance, that raises healthcare prices.

The Personal Price

Whether addicted to drugs or alcohol, an addiction can be extremely expensive to maintain. Depending on substance of choice and the amount required to sustain the addiction, people may spend from several hundred to several thousand dollars a month. Not sustaining the addiction may cause withdrawal and sometimes even death depending on the substance. The price one pays when suffering from addiction is high physically, mentally, and financially.

The Value of Recovery

When more people make the courageous decision to go to treatment and try to get well, everyone benefits from this. Less people go to jail, which is funded by tax dollars, and less people commit crimes. Crime rates related to substance abuse begin to go down, and people begin becoming productive members of society again, boosting the economy as well as paying for proper healthcare. Recovery is more valuable than a financial figure. When someone who is struggling with addiction can find help and work on their life of sobriety, besides financial relief, the satisfaction of becoming a person with dignity and self-love is priceless.