Whether taking heroin or prescription pain pills, the cost involved with supporting an opiate addiction run higher and higher with each passing day. At some point, addiction drives a person to exercise most any means necessary to obtain more drugs. Stealing from family and friends can quickly evolve into hardcore criminal activities that set a person’s life on another course altogether. Meanwhile, opiate drugs wreak havoc on a person’s mind and body making it all but impossible to stop using.
Compared to the costs involved with supporting an opiate addiction, methadone maintenance offers an affordable option for people wanting to break addiction’s hold and live drug-free lives. The daily costs of methadone maintenance are amazingly affordable compared to other forms of treatment. From facility to facility, program costs can vary considerably with the more quality-based programs paying the higher cost. From an economic standpoint, methadone maintenance has become more affordable based on a long-standing history of ongoing research and continued improvements.
Methadone maintenance programs offer a comprehensive approach to treating opiate addiction. In addition to administering methadone medication therapy, these programs offer counseling, rehabilitation and referrals to program participants. As many recovering addicts have hit rock bottom by the time they seek treatment, these added treatment services provide the added support a person needs to remain in recovery.
Many recovering addicts also suffer from psychological problems, which only aggravate their desire to use drugs. Through counseling and psychotherapy services, methadone maintenance programs can help participants get needed treatment for these conditions.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, a study conducted by RTI International, a leading research institute, show the costs to treat one person within a methadone maintenance program average around $20.43 a day. As treatment programs often receive State and Federal funding to help defray costs, many facilities can charge as low as $13.00 a day depending on funding availability.
Data collected from the RTI International study on methadone maintenance cost-effectiveness revealed the wide range of components that go into running a methadone program. A few of the cost factors considered include:
- Monthly facility-related fees
- Medication supplies
- Educational materials
- Staff salaries
- Administrative/accounting costs
- Laboratory equipment costs
Of all the cost factors involved, labor costs accounted for the largest expense paid by treatment facilities. On average, labor costs equaled 86.5 percent of the total cost required to operate a methadone program.
From an economic standpoint, as an affordable drug treatment option, methadone maintenance treatment has far-reaching effects in terms of its cost-effectiveness. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, comparing the costs of heroin addiction (lost work productivity, criminal activity, public assistance monies) with the cost of receiving ongoing methadone treatment showed increasing cost-effectiveness gains per treatment program participant.
On average, the cost-effectiveness ratios for a 25-year old heroin addict who enters treatment increases by $5,915 per year for every year the person remains in recovery. When compared to other forms of medication therapy, methadone maintenance treatment ran considerably lower on both national and international levels.