Financial Costs of AddictionFebruary 28, 2019
The disease of addiction erodes the substance abuser’s health and relationships, but these losses are only one component of the story. Addicts and their families also eventually pay a significant financial cost, both in terms of the price of the substance of choice and in lost wages and job opportunities.
Society also pays high costs of addiction, due to factors such as lost productivity, health care expenses, drug treatment programs and drug-related law enforcement.
Spending to Fuel an Addiction
An alcoholic who buys a case of inexpensive beer every other day can expect to spend, on average, between about $15 and $20 on each purchase. Even on the low end of the price scale, that person will spend $60 per week on beer, which adds up to more than $3,100 per year.
While it’s more difficult to accurately estimate the costs of addiction to harder drugs, both prescription medication and street drugs can be exorbitantly expensive. As people become increasingly dependent on these drugs and it requires more and more amounts of the substance to achieve the same high, those with substance abuse disorders can easily fall into financial ruin, draining their savings in their constant pursuit of their next dose.
Lost Income and Work Time
Another financial cost of substance abuse relates to people’s careers and livelihood. People who are dependent on drugs or alcohol often put their jobs at risk when their addiction inhibits their ability to be responsible employees. Addicts who routinely miss work or important meetings due to drug and alcohol misuse will eventually earn a reputation for being unreliable, causing them to get passed over for promotions or even get fired.
Higher Insurance Costs and Legal Fees
Over the course of an addiction, substance abusers develop health complications that can affect their financial status, either in direct spending or skyrocketing health insurance premiums. These same health problems also tend to result in lost income.
Addicts and alcoholics are more likely to get charged with a DUI, thus seeing increases in their car insurance premiums. Having a DUI on your record can make it more difficult to find employment, not to mention the significant legal fees associated with having to hire a lawyer to defend a DUI charge.
Addiction also places a tremendous financial burden on society as a whole – a cost that is increasing every year as the nationwide drug epidemic continues to grow. These ramifications on the U.S. economy add up to more than $1 trillion annually, which represents 5 percent of the GDP.
How to Stop Paying the High Costs of Addiction
If your loved one needs help realizing the wide-ranging damage their addiction is doing, contact us to stage a professionally managed intervention. Don’t let someone you care about lose control of their life, finances and good reputation. We can help you break through the walls of denial and convince someone of the need to seek help for their drug or alcohol problem.