The cost of heroin treatment (INFOGRAPHICS)

Is investing in heroin addiction treatment worth the expense? Statistics about the cost of heroin use vs. addiction treatment programs in text and graphic form. See more here.

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Heroin is costly

And…so is addiction. Heroin addiction is a big problem for the U.S., costing us as a society around 21.9 billion dollars annually. How do the costs break down?

  1. Productivity losses accounted for approximately 53% of these costs.
  2. Criminal activities make up 24% of the costs to American society.
  3. Medical care and expenses are about 23% of the total cost.
  4. While social welfare accounts for 0.5% of the total cost.

So, there is no denying that the economic burden accrued from heroin addiction is large. However, these stats also challenge us to invest in addiction prevention and treatment.

The cost of heroin treatment (INFOGRAPHICS)

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But, how does the individual cost for heroin rehabilitation programs compare to the cost of obtaining heroin and feeding a daily drug habit? Check out the infographic above for a visual comparison. In it, we compiled data from recent government studies and reports and have presented them in easy-to-view graphic form. At the end, feel free to post your questions in the comments section and we’ll do our best to respond personally and promptly.

How much does heroin cost in the U.S.?

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug that can get you hooked quickly, in some people even after the first use. Soon, it can become a regular and daily necessity. Along with your increasing need for the drug, the amount of money you spend obtaining it will also increase. Here are some average break downs on the cost of heroin, although it will vary by geographic location in the U.S.

  • 1 hit of heroin costs anywhere from $10 to $20.
  • Addicts can spend around $150 on average per day.
  • Using heroin at this rate can end up costing you up from $7,300 – $36,500 in one year’s time.

However, there are many human costs related to heroin use that don’t originate from just buying the drug. These expenses include:

  • medical bills
  • crime and violence
  • diseases (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis)
  • education set-backs
  • family problems
  • fetal harm
  • crime and violence
  • job loss or workplace productivity loss
  • medical bills
  • education set-backs
  • unintentional injuries or overdose

Heroin addiction treatment cost

Heroin addiction can be treated, just like many other chronic diseases. Medications such as methadone and bupenorphne (Subutex or Suboxone) are available and can treat heroin addiction. They are also used to reduce drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, thus increasing the odds of achieving abstinence, engaging in behavioral therapy and psychotherapy, and maintaining sobriety.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that:

  • 1 year of methadone maintenance costs around $4,700 per patient
  • 1 year of $150 spent on heroin daily can cost around $7,300
  • 1 year of imprisonment costs about $24,000 per person

So, it’s pretty clear that investing in addiction treatment is less expensive than continuing use, and incomparably more cost-beneficial than imprisonment.

Q: But, how much does heroin addiction treatment cost you?

A: Contrary to belief, it’s not that expensive!

  • Outpatient heroin program – $140 per day of treatment
  • Long term residential heroin program – $670 per day of treatment
  • Short term residential heroin program – $800 per day of treatment

And that’s without personal insurance or coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). The way that we like to look at it is this…overall the average costs for getting treatment are around $5-6K for outpatient services, and around $20K for inpatient rehab. Scholarships, state vouchers, and sliding scale fees can also lower the cost of treatment. So, in the end…if you want to get clean, there is an affordable way out of addiction. And the savings in the end could mean your life!

Cost of heroin treatment questions

Investing in heroin addiction treatment is worth its cost compared to continuing use or putting people in jail over possession. We aim to connect you with needed treatment. So, if you have any additional questions, please post them in the comments section below. We try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries, or refer you to professionals who can help.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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    1. Hi Rosanne. First, I suggest that you stage an intervention. Take a look into the CRAFT model for families and interventions. There’s an NGO called Allies in Recovery that has some online reading that can help:
      Moreover, you may consider check out some rehab options. So, I suggest that you download our free e-book ‘The Definitive Guide to Rehab’ that can help you choose the right rehab program for your son:
      Finally, call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7. You will speak to a sympathetic, well-trained individual who can help you find a reliable recovery program that will meet your son’s treatment needs.

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