The High Cost of Drug Addiction

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The cost of drug addiction shows up in multiple ways. Some are financial, some involve physical and emotional health, and some have to do with relationships with loved ones. No matter how many different ways addiction to alcohol and drugs may negatively impact a person’s life, choosing recovery can help to start turning things around.

The Financial Cost of Drug Addiction

Drug addiction takes a financial toll in two different ways. The first involves a personal hit to an individual experiencing a substance use disorder. This financial cost often impacts the person’s loved ones, too. 

Drug addiction leaves many of its sufferers unable to work regularly or hold onto employment. Many people end up in debt or go broke trying to obtain enough drugs for an ever-increasing habit. Buying and possessing illegal narcotics can get a person arrested and affect their ability to find or keep a job. 

Doctor shopping, which is the act of visiting numerous physicians in order to obtain multiple prescriptions for an addictive drug, can also result in being arrested. Entering the legal system costs money in terms of fines, court and attorney costs, and lost wages from missed work. 

Financial costs also impact the national economy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that for every dollar that gets put into an addiction treatment program, society benefits by receiving a return of between $4 and $7. This positive return relates to the reduced amounts in crime and criminal justice costs that society bears. When factoring in healthcare treatment, the savings ratio jumps to become about 12 to 1.

The U.S. pays over $600 billion dollars each year in substance abuse costs. Treatment for addiction is less expensive than using the penal system alone to punish those arrested for crimes related to their addiction. The NIH report states that providing methadone treatment for an addict costs about $4,700 per year versus the cost of $24,000 to house a prisoner for that same year.

Many Addicts Bear Painful Personal Costs

The high cost of drug addiction often feels the most painful when it involves personal relationships. Trying to sustain a healthy marriage or other romantic relationship typically falls to the wayside for someone struggling with an addiction. 

Relationships with children, parents, other family members, and friends can be damaged or end because of actions related to the addiction. While some relationships can be repaired over time and often with professional help, some cannot sustain the damage of addiction.

Drug addiction can derail a person’s plans for school and career. Attending classes, studying, and performing school work are made difficult when someone’s priority has switched to obtaining and using drugs. Someone who might be climbing the corporate ladder, planning to start their own business, or otherwise follow a career goal may end up losing everything. 

Addiction and Mental Health Problems Often Co-Exist

Approximately half of all people with a substance use disorder also deal with at least one mental health issue. Using drugs to cope with diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and others can trap a person in a cycle. They use drugs to feel better, but the addictive substances negate any real positive impact on their emotions. 

People who seek treatment for their addiction often report that when they address it, their mental health symptoms can begin to subside. Conversely, when they receive treatment for their co-occurring mental health problems, the desire to use drugs and alcohol may begin to subside.

Physical Damage From Addiction Can Be Costly

A person can experience difficult and even deadly physical effects from their substance use disorder. These can start soon after drug usage begins, and typically become more of a risk as the person increases the amount of drugs they take and the length of time they take them.

Side effects from drug addiction can include:

  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Elevated or decreased heart rates
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Losing consciousness
  • Damage to organs, including the heart, liver, and lungs
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of memory

Alcohol Plays a Role in the Cost of Drug Addiction

While many people do not take alcohol into consideration when thinking about the cost of drug addiction, it causes an enormous amount of damage to millions. Over 14 million people experience an addiction to alcohol that qualifies as a substance use disorder. Over 400,000 of them are adolescents aged 12 to 17.

The resulting costs of alcohol addiction total approximately $250 billion dollars each year. These costs include on-the-job injuries, lost work hours, and the cost of medical care.

Only about seven percent of those dealing with an addiction to alcohol seek treatment for it each year. Those who do not often continue to pay high prices related to their substance use disorder, similar to those experienced by individuals addicted to drugs.

Rehab Treatment in Los Angeles

Has the high cost of drug addiction become more than you can bear? Launch Centers can help you put your old life behind you and learn to recover. We offer treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues. 

We offer many educational options including GED programs and college coaching. Our long-term programs involve the family and multiple types of therapy.

Contact Launch Centers today and get started on learning to live the sober life you deserve.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

staff member drug alcohol treatment los angeles

Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

treatment team los angeles ca

Eric Chaghouri, MD


chloe kruskol los angeles rehab team

Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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