A recent paper put out by an initiative called Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG) talks about some of the cost savings benefits that go along with alcohol and drug abuse treatment. The numbers refer to current treatment methods, success rates, etc., so the savings should only go up as we become more successful and introduce longer, more chronic treatment methods (as I discussed here).
- 2.3 Million hospital stays in 2004 we directly related to substance disorders.
- Total medical costs were reduced 26 percent among patients that received addiction treatment.
- Brief counseling alone allowed for a reduction of 20 percent in emergency department visits and 37 percent in days of hospitalization among a group of high-risk alcoholics.
- Addiction contributes directly to many off our most pressing health issues: heart disease,
cancer and stroke.
- In one study, outpatient addiction treatment reduced total medical costs by 26%, inpatient health-care costs by 35%, and emergency room by 36% !!!
You can find the rest of the report on CATG’s website, but I think you’ll agree that alcohol and drug abuse treatment needs to be part of the discussion in our ongoing health-care debate. We can save billions of dollars and millions of life every year by making appropriate, effective, addiction treatment part of the reality of ongoing health care in America.
It’s the responsible thing to do. It’s the right thing to do.