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The Financial Cost Of Drug Addiction

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When we talk about substance use disorders and addiction, we usually talk about the individual with the disease, their struggles, and the impacts it has on family and friends. However, most people do not stop to consider the financial cost of drug addiction. 

What is the Financial Cost of Drug Addiction?

According to the NCDAS (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics), the financial cost of drug addiction in 2017 amounted to almost $272 billion. This figure includes the costs associated with lowered or complete job loss, healthcare costs, criminal costs, and the costs to support one’s drug addiction. 

These costs were further broken down as follows:

  • Illegal Drug Costs – $193 billion, with $11 billion spent on illegal drug healthcare costs. 
  • Prescription Drug Costs – $78.5 billion, with 26 billion spent on prescription drug healthcare costs. 

In contrast, in 2020, the federal government budgeted $35 billion for drug control efforts. 

What is the Financial Cost of Addiction Per Person?

The financial cost of drug addiction per person depends on the preferred substance, how much is consumed, how often, and the amount taken. Keeping this in mind, it is possible to get an average amount a person spends to support their addiction. 


The average cost of a case of beer is around $20 for most brands. However, a case of craft beer can range from $60 to $100. So, if someone drinks 12 beers a day, it costs $10 a day or $70 a week for regular beer. So the average annual cost is around $3,640. 

For craft beer, the cost ranges from $30 to $50 a day or $210 to $350 per week. The average annual cost is between $10,920 and $18,200. These amounts are for people who drink at home. 

The costs to support an alcohol addiction are even higher if they drink at a bar or nightclub. Furthermore, the costs can easily average over $10,000 a year if someone prefers hard liquor or wine. These costs do not include other additional costs, such as tips, taxicabs, cover charges, missed work, etc. 


The costs of opioids can vary depending on whether they were obtained with a prescription or illegally. For instance, it is about $6 for a single OxyContin pill when someone has a prescription, compared to $50 or more for a single pill on the street. 

As someone builds up a tolerance to opioids, they need to take more to achieve the desired effects. As a result, one could easily spend over $200 a day to support their addiction, which is $72,800 a year. 


Amphetamines are another drug that a person can get with a prescription or illegally. For example, an Adderall prescription can cost between $2 and $5 per pill, depending on the dosage. These same pills run anywhere from $15 to $35 each on the street.  

Suppose a person takes 5 pills a day. Then, the cost of their drug addiction can run around $3,640 to $9,100 for prescriptions and between $27,300 and $63,700 when purchased illegally. 


Cocaine is another illicit substance that causes addiction in many people. The effects are short-lived, so the person has to continue using the drug every few hours to maintain their “high.” The average 

The cost of cocaine per gram can range from around $90 to $200, depending on its purity. Each gram is enough to do 10 lines or 25 bumps. So, if someone does 5 lines each day, their annual drug addiction cost ranges from $16,380 to $36,400. 


The cost of benzos is also related to whether they are prescribed or obtained illegally. A prescription can cost around $1 per pill, compared to $5 and $10 on the street. So, the annual costs could range from $2,184 to $21,840 when a person takes six pills daily. 

Designer “Club” Drugs

These illegal substances can range in price from $25 to $50 for a single dose. So if someone needs 4 doses daily, they could easily spend $36,400 to $72,800 a year. 

What is the Financial Cost of Rehab?

One of the most common reasons why a person with a substance use disorder does not seek help at a treatment center is due to the costs of rehab. However, in recent years, most insurance providers cover most, if not all, of the treatment costs for addiction. 

Furthermore, if someone has Medicaid, Medicare, or state-sponsored coverage, their out-of-pocket expenses may be nothing or only minimal.  

In cases where someone does not have insurance, there are grants and other options to cover the costs. The total cost of treatment does vary, depending on where the facility is located, the programs offered, and the length of the program. 

Yet, in the long run, the investment into recovery costs far less than continuing to support an addiction. 

Substance Use Addiction Treatment in Orange County, CA

When you are ready to get help for your substance use addiction, personalized treatment programs are available at Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County, CA. We provide a caring, safe, supportive environment to focus on your recovery. To learn more about our IMS and JCAHO-accredited treatment center or to start your treatment, contact us today. 


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