Drug Rehabilitation

The Cost Of Drug Rehab

AddictionDrug abuse is the use of illegal or legal drugs to get a high. Illegal drugs include stimulants such as and opioids such as. Today, legally prescribed drugs and over the counter drugs are one of the most abused drugs in America. Pain relievers have been used as a substitute for illegal drugs which tend to be hard to acquire. Many overdose related deaths have been attributed to the abuse of prescription drugs rather than to illegal drugs.

Drug abuse has cost America. It is approximated that 740 billion dollars has been lost to illegal drugs in the form of crime, lost productive labor and health care. Drug abuse robs the country of young energy since many drug addicts are people in the ages of 18 to 35. Furthermore, if these individuals are unable to get employed or keep their jobs, they resort to crime to support their addictive habits.

Statistics by the American Addiction Centers show that:

  • By 2014, 21.5 million Americans aged 12 years and above battled a substance use disorder
  • 80% of individuals battling drug abuse suffer from an alcohol use disorder
  • 50% of people suffering from substance abuse also suffer from co-occurring mental health issues
  • One out of every eight Americans with drug substance disorders suffer from alcohol abuse and another drug abuse disorder simultaneously.
  • 50% of addiction cases are hereditary
  • Genetics and environmental factors play an equal role in contributing to drug abuse.
  • Adult men are more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse than women while both genders equally struggle with substance abuse.
  • Prescription drugs and cocaine are the commonly abused drugs
  • Alcohol is the most abused addictive substance
  • A very small percentage of addicts who need treatment actually receive it
  • Relapse is very common in addiction treatment
  • Drug addiction is a very treatable condition. It is possible to attain recovery.

These statistics can be overwhelming but they are essential in putting things into perspective. Drug abuse is treatable. They are very many exploitable options for treating drug addiction. They include:

Inpatient rehab

This involves a full time commitment to a rehabilitation center. The addict is placed in the center for a period of time when their home conditions may not be suitable to help them recover from an addiction problem. At the center, they undergo the stages of detoxification, behavioral therapy, medication and aftercare.  Inpatient rehab is preferable for individuals with long time drug addiction problems. The process of waning off a drug can be very treacherous especially with severe withdrawal symptoms. A medical professional is very important for such situations. Behavioral therapy helps a patient change their attitudes towards addiction and to find a support system among other patients in their journey to recovery. Medications used in drug rehabilitation can also be unfriendly to the body since they have side effects as well. However, with successful completion of the rehabilitation program, the patient is no longer an addict and can transition into normal life activities. They will need to be monitored to keep them from relapsing.

Outpatient rehab

For patients who find that their home environment provides them with support in their journey to recovery, outpatient rehab is the way to go. Here, addicts visit the rehab centers frequent sessions in a week and then go home after the sessions are over. Similar to inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab involves detoxification, behavioral therapy, medication and aftercare. Outpatient care begins with intense sessions which become less frequent as the patient continues to improve. Furthermore, outpatient rehab offers family therapy to help families deal with taking care of a recovering addict. The recovery journey can take a toll on them as well.

Gender-based rehab

Today, there are many rehab centers that deal with a specific gender. This is common especially for women. The process of recovery does not change. However, the plus side to this kind of treatment is that patients are free to share the struggles they face which may be specific to that gender. Moreover, it is easier to support another person of the same sex because you experience similar challenges.

Teen rehab

Teen RehabAdolescent addicts need special care. Unlike their adult counterparts, teenage addicts face different kinds of challenges. They need special attention and programs to help them recover. Recovery follows the steps of detoxification, behavioral therapy, medication and aftercare. However, programs are tailored to suit the unique needs of a teenager.

Dual diagnosis drug rehab  

As mentioned earlier, 50% of all substance abusers are suffering from co-occurring psychological conditions such as depression or anxiety. For such individuals, the journey to recovery is a long way to go because it involves treating the addiction while simultaneously treating the mental disorder. This can be challenging for an ordinary rehab center to handle. For this reason these centers specifically deal with such situations. The presence of trained medics who deal with psychological issues make them ideal rehab centers to treat addicts with mental disorders.

Holistic drug rehab

These rehab centers offer more than just the basics of drug treatment. They endeavor to provide holistic treatment. For this reason, they offer programs such as yoga and nutritional counselling for holistic growth.

With all these rehab options, the process of treatment is the same:

1.) Detoxification

This is the first step to recovery. An addict kicks off the use of the drug they abuse. There are various ways of detoxification:

  • Cold-turkey detoxification is where a patient cuts off substance use completely and does not take any medication to help with withdrawal symptoms. This type of detoxification can be effective for short-term addicts.
  • Short-term medicated detoxification is where the patient uses medication for a short time to help with the withdrawal symptoms. For instance, a sleeping pill may be prescribed to help with insomnia.
  • Long-term medicated detoxification is where the patient uses medication for a longer period to deal with withdrawal symptoms.

Regardless of what process of detoxification a patient uses, medical supervision is very necessary because of the sever withdrawal symptoms which are very unfriendly to the body.

2.) Behavioral therapy

Detoxification is not complete as a treatment method on its own. Many individuals who just go through detoxification without any other step end up relapsing. A patient must attend therapeutic sessions to help them deal with their attitudes towards drug addiction. Therapy is also important for establishment of support systems. There are several options for therapy such as: individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy.

3.) Medication

Medications are used to suppress the withdrawal symptoms during detoxification and to prevent relapses. Some medications re-establish normal brain functioning and reduce cravings for drugs. Opioid drugs such as methadone and naltrexone are used to treat the withdrawal effects of opioid drugs such as heroine. They also reduce the cravings for these drugs. Naltrexone, Disulfiram and Acamprosate are used to treat withdrawal effects from alcohol abuse and to reduce the cravings for alcohol. Tobacco patches and lozenges are used as nicotine replacements.

Individuals with co-occurring conditions must be treated with antipsychotics or antidepressants to relieve their mental disorders while simultaneously being treated for drug abuse.

4.) Aftercare

It is essential for continuous monitoring of recovering addicts to keep them from relapsing. It is also important to help them transition into normal life once again. Most rehab centers help with this by providing life skill classes and specifically tailored aftercare programs to meet the need of every patient.

Aftercare programs are very paramount for incarcerated drug addicts because they face more than just an addiction problem. Their attitudes towards drug addiction need to be amended in order to give them a shot at living a normal life once they are released.

The process of drug rehab can be physically, emotionally and financially strenuous. It requires commitment, dedication, patience and most importantly perseverance because it can get really hard.

Drug rehab can be quite expensive. It requires more than just a few dollars to complete the process.

What are the typical costs?

We have seen that drug addiction costs America its productive labor and its social life. Treating drug addictions can bring these costs down. It is more logical and beneficial to treat addicts rather than to incarcerate them. Statistics show that every dollar used in treating drug addictions yields four to seven dollars in return investments. These return investments are in the form of reduced drug-related crimes, criminal injustice costs and theft. Moreover, when savings related to health care are included, the total savings can reach twelve dollars for every one dollar used in treatment. The benefits of drug addiction treatment are:

  • fewer interpersonal conflicts
  • more productivity in the workplace
  • less drug-related incidences such as overdoses

With these benefits in mind, we can talk about what compounds the costs of drug addiction treatment. These costs are influenced and determined by the following factors:

1.) Duration of treatment

Progression of drug treatment occurs at various rates for each individual. This means that there is no predetermined length of treatment. A treatment of less than 90 days is deemed ineffective in treating drug addiction for both inpatient and outpatient care. For more significantly positive results, it is important for treatment to last a little bit longer. Take an example of methadone treatment to treat opioid related drug abuse. For such treatment, it will take at least 12 months with other recovering individuals being treated for opioid addiction taking methadone for years. Many treatment programs encounter the problem of treatment dropouts. Motivational techniques are useful to keep the patient committed to the recovery journey. Furthermore, treating addiction as a chronic disease will help in re-admitting individuals who have relapsed. It is important for rehabs to offer continuous care and monitoring. Rehab centers should develop tailored made programs for each patient to keep them in treatment to the optimum level of treatment.

What will duration of treatment cost an addict?

Therefore, drug treatment will cost an addict their time if they are to completely recover. The journey does not also end after leaving the treatment center. It is important to resolve triggers that can lead to a relapse.

Duration also implies that long-term treatment is more expensive that short-term treatment especially for residential care. Every day requires different resources to treat the addiction problem. Clearly, the longer the time, the more the money.

2.) Type of rehab

There are many varieties of drug rehab available. Outpatient care is less expensive compared to the other options since the patient can go home after treatment and treatment is several times a week and not every day. Specialized drug rehab programs such as holistic rehab tend to be more expensive because they offer more than just addiction treatment. Activities such as yoga cost the patient more than an ordinary residential rehab center.

3.) Co-occurring conditions

Treatment for addicts with co-occurring mental disorders costs more than treatment for addicts only because more medication and care is needed for such patients.

4.) Staffing

The number of staff available at a rehab center plays a vital role in determining the expenses of rehab. The more the staff, the more the cost to maintain their employment. The less the staff, the less the maintenance costs.

5.) Geographical location

In America, it is cheaper to receive treatment in the Midwest rather than the West Coast. The differences in the local economy influence the cost of treatment. Moreover, a beach side rehab center will cost more than an ordinary urban rehab center.

6.) Source of funding

Non-profit treatment centers are less expensive than private facilities. This is because non-profit treatment centers receive a percentage of funding from the government. The downside to such centers is that they do not offer personalized care which is offered in private facilities. The lack of attention means less family therapy sessions, fewer support groups and less personal counselling sessions. Another disadvantage of such centers is that there is usually a long waiting list for admission into the program which beats the purpose of drug rehab. Treatment is founded on the basis of urgency which such centers cannot offer. Therefore, for those who are financially endowed, private facilities are the more suitable options.

7.) Level of addiction

There are different levels drug addiction:

  • Experimentation
  • Regular use
  • Risky use/Abuse
  • Drug addiction/dependency

The cost of treating drug abuse at the experimentation stage or regular use is different compared to the cost of treating drug abuse at the dependency level.

8.) Medication

Medication used for the treatment of certain drugs is less expensive than that of other drugs. For example, when treating tobacco addictions, nicotine replacements such as nicotine patches or lozenges are cheaper than the methadone or naltrexone dosages used in treating opioid drug addictions like heroin. Furthermore, scientists are yet to develop drugs to treat stimulant drugs such as cocaine.

These factors all play a role to determine what drug rehab will cost an addict. But what exactly will drug rehab cost?


Drug rehab will cost an addict time. It will also cost the addict’s family time. For outpatient care, someone will be required to drop and pick up the patient every time they have a session. Furthermore, the family will need to avail themselves for family therapy more than once. This can wear off the family but it is necessary for treatment. It will cost the addict more time because regardless of the type of drug rehab they choose, they will need to be committed to treatment for more than 90 days.


One of the many reasons that many people do not seek drug treatment is lack of finances to see the whole process through. Drug rehab requires money. Treatment medication, therapy and other rehab programs cost more than just a few dollars. For instance, the average cost of 28 day alcohol abuse treatment program is $25,166. The price increases for rehab centers that have an on-site detox. This means that the daily cost of drug treatment is $898! A complete detox takes 3-10 days. It is unlikely that a patient will complete the 10 days of detoxification because it will cost them roughly $9000! If they are unable to complete the detoxification period, how then will they be able to complete the whole process of drug treatment?

Outpatient care programs are cheaper, costing $250-$300 a day. However, most addicts such as alcoholics seem to drop out of such programs and relapsed. As a result, many families opt for residential care.

Methadone-assisted treatment for opioid drug treatment can cost $6,552 yearly while naltrexone-assisted treatment can cost $14,112 per year.

Aftercare programs have varying costs depending on the programs offered.

We cannot fail to mention the cost of treating mental disorders while still treating drug addictions. Antidepressants and antipsychotics can cost up to $10,400 per year.

From these figures, it is clear that drug rehab can be financially strenuous. Only a small percentage of the drug addict population can access treatment. It is inevitable that many addicts cannot access treatment and are doomed to a life of addiction.


The withdrawal symptoms accompanied by drug rehab can take a toll on an addict’s health. Common symptoms include excessive sweating, insomnia, dry skin, shaking, depression and anxiety. This is the reason why supervision by a health professional is needed during the period of recovery especially during a detox. Moreover, treatment medications have a set of side effects on their own. Such conditions make an addict very uncomfortable and restless when undergoing treatment.

Social life

RehabThe journey to recovery will need an addict to give up their usual social circle. Influence from other drug-addicted friends should be completely avoided. New friendships and support systems need to be formed if an individual is to be free of an addiction. It can be challenging to give up friendships but it has to be done to leave no chances of relapsing. It is also important to note that the addict’s family will also need to make changes in their social lives. At times, they may be shunned for having a drug addict in their family. This should not deter them from giving their loved one the full support that they need.


Drug rehab will cost an addict their lifestyle. Some routines must change. Sometimes, the usual glass of wine at dinner will need to be avoided for an alcoholic so as not to trigger a craving for alcohol. Some foods will need to be avoided. Holistic drug rehab inculcates new lifestyles such as yoga into the life of a recovering addict. It is essential that a patient do away with any hindering lifestyle in their recovery journey.


Drug rehab will cost an addict their freedom. Every type of rehab has limitations of what an addict can do. Residential care centers have curfews and restrict the movement of patients. The idea is to instill discipline in their lives because that is the only way they will be able to recover and move on from a life of addiction.

Despite all these costs which make treatment seem as an impossible thing to attain, treatment is very beneficial to the patient, the family, the society and the country. Treatment reduces crime by 40 to 60 percent, reduces drug use by 40 to 60 percent and increases job opportunities by 40 percent. With these benefits in mind, the government should set in place policies that favor addicts in getting treatment. More non-profit rehab centers are a viable option. These centers should be well-staffed and well-equipped to handle any drug related treatments. It is the only way that the American society will receive healing.

For families that have the ability to foot the financial costs of drug treatment, they should endeavor to do so whole heartedly to make sure that their loved one receives the best care. Furthermore, they should offer emotional support more than just financial support. Statistically, recovering addicts who had family support have the highest chances of complete recovery without incidences of relapse.

In conclusion, these costs of drug rehab should not keep an addict from seeking treatment. Commitment and dedication are the only prerequisites to drug rehab. There is always a way where there is a will.