Addiction is a serious problem that affects people all over the world today. No country, class, or ethnic group is immune to the effects of addiction. This is a problem that hurts not only the addicted, but their immediate families and entire countries. A staggering amount of money is spent on incarcerating individuals for drug-related crimes, and this rarely does much to help the underlying problems. These people are in need of legitimate treatment, and while there are many options available, many are skeptical as to whether certain treatments are really worth the cost.
Treatment for drug addiction can be very expensive. Many of the currently available treatment programs are in-patient residential stays that give addicts a chance to break free from their addictions in a positive and encouraging environment. This system, though positive and often productive, can be very expensive. Some treatment centers have tried to cut costs by shortening the lengths of their programs. Some centers, for example, offer a 10 day program at a cost of $15,000. That cost is easily offset by the changes that occur when an individual kicks addiction.
Other treatment options for addiction are statistically beneficial and cost effective as well. For example, one year of methadone treatment to help a patient overcome addiction costs an average of just under $5,000. On the other hand, incarceration of that same patient could cost anywhere from $18,000 to $24,000 per year. Couple this with the fact that incarceration rarely helps cure addiction problems, and you have a recipe for an expensive cycle of imprisonment that is neither beneficial nor cost effective. Because many treatment programs and prisons alike are government funded, it is important to recognize which of these paths is more beneficial. Drug addicts need legitimate treatment in order to get over their addictions, and that treatment is definitely worth the cost.
One thing to be aware of in this issue, however, is profiteering. In a capitalist society, someone is always going to attempt to make a profit in any given industry. Treatment centers for drug addiction are no different. Expensive residential rehab centers, while they may be effective means of addiction treatment, may not be worth their cost. There is often very little research to indicate that these treatment centers help addicts any more than a less expensive outpatient program would. This issue often comes down to a matter of who is paying. Some programs are not government funded, and one must wonder if that lack of funding is due to their not being worth the cost.
In the end, one must consider the cost of addiction treatment versus the cost of continuing addiction. Addiction problems can cost individuals and their families thousands of dollars every year, and their often inevitable incarceration costs taxpayers thousands more. Addiction treatment strives to cure the problem, rather than letting it perpetuate itself, and is worth even the highest costs. While some forms of treatment may be more cost effective than others, treating an addiction is always the right choice to make.