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Drug Treatment Fact Sheet
Get More Facts About The Drug War

GORSKI-CENAPS Web Publications
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Published On: <DATE>          Updated On: August 07, 2001
© Terence T. Gorski, 2001

Terry Gorski and Other Members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team Are Available To Train & Consult On Areas Related To Addiction & Mental Health
Gorski - CENAPS, 17900 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, IL 60430, 708-799-5000 www.tgorski.com, www.cenaps.com, www.relapse.org 

  1. Treatment is 10 times more cost effective than interdiction in reducing the use of cocaine in the United States.

    Source: Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., Controlling Cocaine, Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army (Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND Corporation, 1994).

  2. A study by the RAND Corporation found that every additional dollar invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.46 in societal costs.

    Source: Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., Controlling Cocaine, Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army (Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND Corporation, 1994), p. xvi.

  3. The RAND Corporation study found that additional domestic law enforcement efforts cost 15 times as much as treatment to achieve the same reduction in societal costs.

    Source: Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., Controlling Cocaine, Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army (Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND Corporation, 1994), p. xvi.

  4. When analyzing options to reduce societal costs of cocaine use RAND found the following relationship:

    For every additional $1.00 Spent On:

    Societal Benefits Are:

    Source-Country Control

    A LOSS of 85 cents

    Interdiction

    A LOSS of 68 cents

    Domestic Enforcement

    A LOSS of 48 cents

    Treatment

    A GAIN of $7.46


    Note: Societal costs include crime, violence and loss of productivity, etc.

    Source: Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., Controlling Cocaine, Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army (Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND Corporation, 1994), p. xvii.

  5. In 1996, voters in Arizona passed an initiative which mandated drug treatment instead of prison for non-violent drug offenders. At the end of the first year of implementation, Arizona's Supreme Court issued a report which found:
    A) Arizona taxpayers saved $2.6 million in one year;
    B) 77.5% of drug possession probationers tested negative for drug use after the program;
    The Court stated, "The Drug Medicalization, Prevention and Control Act of 1996 has allowed the judicial branch to build an effective probation model to treat and supervise substance abusing offenders... resulting in safer communities and more substance abusing probationers in recovery."

    Source: State of Arizona Supreme Court, Drug Treatment and Education Fund: Implementation Full Year Report: Fiscal Year 1997-1998, 1999.

  6. In January 2001, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University published an analysis of costs to states from tobacco, alcohol and other drug addiction. According to the report, "States report spending $2.5 billion a year on treatment. States did not distinguish whether the treatment was for alcohol, illicit drug abuse or nicotine addiction. Of the $2.5 billion total, $695 million is spent through the departments of health and $633 million through the state substance abuse agencies. We believe that virtually all of these funds are spent on alcohol and illegal drug treatment."

    Source: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, "Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets" (New York, NY: CASA, Jan. 2001), p. 24.

  7. In January 2001, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University published an analysis of costs to states from tobacco, alcohol and other drug addiction. According to the report, "The justice system spends $433 million on treatment: $149 million for state prison inmates; $103 million for those on probation and parole; $133 million for juvenile offenders; $46 million to help localities treat offenders; $1 million on drug courts. Treatment provided by mental health institutions for co-morbid patients totals $241 million. The remaining $492 million is for the substance abuse portion of state employee assistance programs ($97 million), treatment programs for adults involved in child welfare services ($4.5 million) and capital spending for the construction of treatment facilities ($391 million). (Figure 4.B)"

    Source: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, "Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on State Budgets (New York, NY: CASA, Jan. 2001), p. 24.

  8. In 1992, the U.S. government spent only 7% of its drug-control budget on treatment, the remaining 93% of its budget went to ineffective programs of source control, interdiction and law-enforcement.

    Source: Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., , Controlling Cocaine, Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army (Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND Corporation, 1994), p. 5.

  9. "The Panel anxiously awaits the time when the disease of addiction is no longer treated as a criminal justice issue, but as a public health problem. Moreover, the Panel embraces the notion of a society that enables any individual with a substance abuse problem, regardless of criminal history, to receive treatment in a safe and respectful environment. The Panel hopes to create a climate in which people who are at risk for, suffering from, or in recovery from alcohol or other drug addiction are valued and treated with dignity."

    Source: US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Changing the Conversation: Improving Substance Abuse Treatment: The National Treatment Plan Initiative; Panel Reports, Public Hearings, and Participant Acknowledgements" (Washington, DC: SAMHSA, November 2000), p. 41.

  10. "According to the ONDCP's 1999 National Drug Control Strategy, there are approximately 4 million chronic drug users in the United States. This closely aligns with the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, which found that 4.1 million people were in need of drug treatment. The NIAAA report, Improving the Delivery of Alcohol Treatment and Prevention Services, estimates there are 14 million alcohol abusers, whereas the 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse finds approximately 9.7 million people in need of alcohol treatment. Regardless of the source, a conservative estimate of those in need of substance abuse treatment is between 13 and 16 million people. In contrast, both the 1997 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Managing Managed Care, and the 1998 National Household Survey conclude that approximately 3 million people receive care for alcohol or drugs in one year. Although, as previously stated, neither the estimates of need nor the estimates of those in treatment are all inclusive, the picture remains the same - more than 10 million people who need treatment each year are not receiving it."

    Source: US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Changing the Conversation: Improving Substance Abuse Treatment: The National Treatment Plan Initiative; Panel Reports, Public Hearings, and Participant Acknowledgements" (Washington, DC: SAMHSA, November 2000), p. 6.

  11. The National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (NTIES) found that with treatment: drug selling decreased by 78%, shoplifting declined by almost 82%, and assaults (defined as 'beating someone up') declined by 78%. Furthermore, there was a 64% decrease in arrests for any crime, and the percentage of people who largely supported themselves through illegal activity dropped by nearly half - decreasing more than 48 percent.

    Source: Center for Substance Abuse and Treatment, National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study 1997 Highlights, from the web at http://www.health.org/nties97/crime.htm.

  12. The 1997 National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (NTIES) stated, "Treatment appears to be cost effective, particularly when compared to incarceration, which is often the alternative. Treatment costs ranged from a low of $1,800 per client to a high of approximately $6,800 per client." To contrast, the average cost of incarceration in 1993 (the most recent year available) was $23,406 per inmate per year.

    Source: Center for Substance Abuse and Treatment, National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study 1997 Highlights, from the web at http://www.health.org/nties97/costs.htm; Bureau of Justice Statistics, Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1996 (Washington DC: US Department of Justice, 1997), p. 4, 502. (Average cost is based on an adult jail and prison population of 1,364,881, and total corrections expenditures of $31,946,667,000 for 1993.)

  13. A recent study by researchers at Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration has indicated that 48% of the need for drug treatment, not including alcohol abuse, is unmet in the United States.

    Source: Woodward, A., Epstein, J., Gfroerer, J., Melnick, D., Thoreson, R., and Wilson, D., "The Drug Abuse Treatment Gap: Recent Estimates," Health Care Financing Review, 18: 5-17 (1997).

  14. Treatment decreased welfare use by 10.7% and increased employment by 18.7% after one year, according to the 1996 National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study.

    Source: Center for Substance Abuse and Treatment, National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1996), p. 11.

  15. A recently concluded study of heroin maintenance in Switzerland for the World Health Organization concluded:

    1. The health of participants improved.

    2. Illicit cocaine and heroin use declined greatly.

    3. Housing situation improved and stabilized- most importantly there were no longer any more homeless participants.

    4. Fitness for work improved considerably, those with permanent employment more than doubled from 14% to 32%.

    5. The number of unemployed fell by half (from 44% to 20%)

    6. A third of the patients that were on welfare, left the welfare rolls. But, others went on to welfare to compensate for their lost income from sales of drugs.

    7. Income from illegal and semi-legal activities decreased significantly, from 69% of participants to 10%.

    8. The number of offenders and offenses decreased by about 60% during the first 6 months of treatment.

    9. The retention rate was average for treatment programs. 89% over 6 months, and 69% over 18 months.

    10. More than half of the dropouts did so to switch to another form of treatment. 83 of the participants did so to switch to an abstinence-based treatment, and it is expected that this number will grow as the duration of individual treatment increases.

    11. There were no overdoses from drugs prescribed by the program.

    Source: Robert Ali, et al, Report of the External Panel on the Evaluation of the Swiss Scientific Studies of Medically Prescribed Narcotics to Drug Addicts (New York, NY: The World Health Organization, April 1999).

  16. According to CASA (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse), the cost of proven treatment for inmates, accompanied by education, job training and health care, would average about $6,500 per inmate. For each inmate that becomes a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen, the economic benefit is $68,800. Even if only one in 10 inmates became a law-abiding citizen after this investment, there would still be a net social gain of $3,800.

    Source: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, Behind Bars: Substance Abuse and America's Prison Population, (New York, NY: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, January 8, 1998), Foreword by Joseph Califano.

  17. Treatment availability for drug and alcohol addicted prison inmates has declined over the last decade:
    Among those prisoners who had been using drugs in the month before their offense, 15% of both State and Federal inmates said they had received drug abuse treatment during their current prison term, down from a third of such offenders in 1991.
    Among those who were using drugs at the time of offense, about 18% of both State and Federal prisoners reported participation in drug treatment since admission, compared to about 40% in 1991.

    Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Substance Abuse and Treatment, State and Federal Prisoners, 1997 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, January 1999), p. 10.

  18. "Despite the many factors that contribute to the gap, the Panel agrees with many in the field that inadequate funding for substance abuse treatment is a major part of the problem. Over the last decade, spending on substance abuse prevention and treatment has increased, albeit more slowly than overall health spending, to an estimated annual total of $12.6 billion in 1996 (McKusick, Mark, King, Harwood, Buck, Dilonardo, and Genuardi, 1998). Of this amount, public spending is estimated at $7.6 billion (McKusick, et al., 1998). The public spending includes dollars from Medicaid and Medicare, as well as other Federal funds from the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Administration, the Department of Justice, and the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant. The SAPT Block Grant provides Federal support to addiction prevention and treatment services nationally through State and local governments. Private spending includes individual out-of-pocket payment, insurance, and other nonpublic sources, and is estimated at $4.7 billion (McKusick, et al., 1998)."

    Source: US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Changing the Conversation: Improving Substance Abuse Treatment: The National Treatment Plan Initiative; Panel Reports, Public Hearings, and Participant Acknowledgements" (Washington, DC: SAMHSA, November 2000), p. 12.

  19. "One of the main reasons for the higher outlay in public spending is the frequently limited coverage of substance abuse treatment by private insurers. Although 70 percent of drug users are employed and most have private health insurance, 20 percent of public treatment funds were spent on people with private health insurance in 1993, due to limitations on their policy (ONDCP, 1996b). In the view of the Panel, private insurers should serve as the primary source of coverage, with public insurance serving as the safety net."

    Source: US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Changing the Conversation: Improving Substance Abuse Treatment: The National Treatment Plan Initiative; Panel Reports, Public Hearings, and Participant Acknowledgements" (Washington, DC: SAMHSA, November 2000), p. 12.

  20. "'Changing The Conversation' initiated the first intensive exploration of the stigmas and attitudes that affect people with alcohol and drug problems. The Panel addressed stigma as a powerful, shame-based mark of disgrace and reproach that impedes treatment and recovery. Prejudicial attitudes and beliefs generate and perpetuate stigma; therefore, people suffering from alcohol and/or drug problems and those in recovery are often ostracized, discriminated against, and deprived of basic human rights. Their families, treatment providers, and even researchers may face comparable stigmas and attitudes. Ironically, stigmatized individuals often endorse the attitudes and practices that stigmatize them. They may internalize this thinking and behavior, which consequently becomes part of their identity and sense of self-worth.
    "Public support and public policy are influenced by addiction stigma. Addiction stigma delays acknowledging the disease and inhibits prevention, care, treatment, and research. It diminishes the life opportunities of the stigmatized."

    Source: US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Changing the Conversation: Improving Substance Abuse Treatment: The National Treatment Plan Initiative; Panel Reports, Public Hearings, and Participant Acknowledgements" (Washington, DC: SAMHSA, November 2000), p. 38-39.

This article is copyrighted by Terence To Gorski.  Permission is given to reproduce this article if the following conditions are met:  (1) The authorship of the article is properly referenced and the internet address is given;  (2) All references to the following three websites are retained when the article is reproduced - www.tgorski.com, www.cenaps.com, www.relapse.org, www.relapse.net; (3) If the article is published on a website a reciprocal link to the four websites listed under point two is provided on the website publishing the article.

                                                                                                                                                      

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