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hidden financial costs of substance abuse
January 11, 2021

The Hidden Financial Costs of Substance Abuse

The disease of addiction erodes the substance abuser’s well-being and interpersonal connections, but these losses are only one facet of the larger picture. Addicts and their families also eventually face mounting financial costs, both in paying for the substance of use and in lost salary and job opportunities.

Society also pays a higher price for addiction, due to factors such as wasted productivity, health care expenses, treatment programs and drug-related law enforcement. What are some of the hidden financial costs of substance abuse?

Spending to Feed an Addiction

An alcohol abuser who buys a case of inexpensive beer every other day can expect to spend, on average, between about $15 and $31 on each purchase. Even on the low end of the price scale, they’ll spend $60 per week on beer, which adds up to more than $3,100 per year.

While it’s more complicated to accurately estimate the financial 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 higher amounts of the substance to achieve the same desired effect, those with substance abuse disorders can easily fall into debt, draining their savings in their constant pursuit of their next dose.

Higher Insurance Premiums and Legal Fees

During an active addiction, substance abusers develop physical and mental health complications that can affect their financial status, either in direct spending or rapidly increasing health insurance premiums. These same health problems also tend to result in income loss.

Substance users who drive under the influence can get arrested and charged with a DUI, which will increase their car insurance rates. Having a criminal record often makes it more challenging to find gainful employment, and there are also significant legal fees associated with having to hire an experienced attorney to defend a DUI charge in court.

Lost Income and Work Time

Another hidden 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 illness limits their ability to be responsible employees. Substance users who routinely miss work or essential professional commitments due to drug and alcohol misuse will eventually develop a reputation for being untrustworthy, causing them to get passed over for promotions or even get terminated.

National Economic Costs

Of course, substance abuse isn’t only a problem at the individual level. It’s also crucial to consider this issue’s economic impact in the form of missed productivity and drug-related crimes.

Substance use disorders place a tremendous financial burden on our society as a whole – a price that is increasing every year as the nationwide drug epidemic continues to affect people from all walks of life. One report from the U.S. Surgeon General determined that the annual economic impact from the abuse of prescription drugs, illicit drugs and alcohol totals an astonishing $442 billion. The report defined alcohol and drug misuse and related disorders as “major public health challenges that are taking an enormous toll on individuals, families and society.”  

You Can Stop Paying the Hidden Financial Costs of Addiction

If you’re struggling with the wide-ranging adverse effects of addictive behavior, time is of the essence. Seeking treatment for your illness can help free your brain and body of toxic substances, identify your disease’s root causes and equip you with healthy coping strategies that can allow you to live your life with confidence.

As one of the country’s leading addiction rehab facilities, Beach House offers a full continuum of care in a beautiful, private beachfront community. To learn more about all our desirable amenities, our clinically excellent treatment approach and our compassionate culture, please contact our admissions team whenever you’re ready.