Experts estimate that drug abuse alone costs General Motors corporation an estimated $520 million to $1.5 billion annually for treatment, absenteeism, and repair of defective work. In addition, according to an American Medical Association study, nearly one dollar in four of total health care spending goes to victims of drug abuse, violence, and other kinds of social behaviour that could be changed. Such behaviour is adding $171 billion to our nation's health care bill, $85 billion of that cost is attributable to alcohol use. These figures are from more than a decade ago.
Or how about this: In
Do you still smoke? The costs attributable to smoking in
And lastly, Medicaid patients with drug and alcohol problems who received targeted psychological services reduced their subsequent medical costs by 15%. Those not receiving psychological assistance increased their medical costs by 90% . A
But here's a problem: good treatment centers cost a fortune, along the lines of $1000 a day for the less expensive ones, and three to four times that amount for 'boutique' rehabs. Two decades ago, most insurance companies would cover the cost of 28 days in treatment, the minimum amount of time thought by experts to be necessary for effective treatment. No more... Because the insurance companies now limit their coverage and reimbursements, many rehabs have turned into three-day 'spin-dry' outfit that do an effective job of detoxing, but little else. Other places such as methadone clinics are privatetly run to show a profit and pay only lip-service to counseling. Clients are basically switched from one socially unaccepted drug--heroin--to a socially acceptable one--methadone.
Here's a thought: spend less on interdiction, on the war on drugs both here and abroad, on incarcerating small-time growers and dealers, and use that money for education beginning in grade school, and to open professionally staffed rehabilitation centers that offer addicts a place to go for solace, therapy, meetings and shelter. Our health care system will benefit, and our dependence on drugs will lessen. That's what's called a win-win scenario.