How much does drug abuse cost us?
"Us" as a society?
"Us," as in the United States?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates the societal price tag of drug abuse in American is about $200 billion per year. Expenses associated with the criminal justice system—court costs, incarceration, etc.—account for more than half that amount. Less than 10% of that $200 billion is related to treating substance use disorders (SUD).
"Treatment is cost effective in reducing drug use and bringing about related savings in health care," the National Institute of Health (NIH) concluded. "Treatment also consistently has been shown to reduce the costs associated with lost productivity, crime and incarceration across various settings and populations. The largest economic benefit of treatment is seen in avoided costs of crime."
Simply put: It is more cost effective to treat people with a SUD than it is to incarcerate them.
Legal Issue & Public Health Crisis
As we've stated many times before, COMBAT addresses drug abuse as both a legal issue and public health crisis. Therefore, COMBAT funds law enforcement efforts like the Jackson County Drug Task Force, which targets drug traffickers; diversion programs like the Jackson County Drug Court, which allows non-violent offenders an alternative to traditional criminal prosecution; and treatment programs offered by outside agencies.
Since 2015 COMBAT-funded treatment programs had provided services to more than 20,000 unique clients. Among those clients was Tommy McGee. He has remained sober since undergoing treatment at a COMBAT-funded agency in 2015, and he doesn’t mince words when he says, “COMBAT saved my life.”
Today, Tommy works as a Certified Peer Specialist who works for CommCare’s EPICC program. He goes into emergency rooms to let people who’ve survived an opioid overdose know what treatment options are available to them.
“If I hadn’t gotten that treatment [paid for by COMBAT], today I’d either be back in prison or dead,” Tommy states.
“COMBAT didn’t just save my life; it gave me a chance to change my life for the better. I am grateful for that, so I’m going to keep on working on being a better person, helping others and staying on the right path."
|I'd Be Back In Prison Or Dead
I'm convinced that I would be back in prison or dead, if I had not gotten drug treatment through a COMBAT-funded program in 2015. Now today I am working to help others start their recovery journeys. The "mess" I had made out of my life can now be a "message" for someone else going through addiction. I want to give them hope, let them know if a guy like me can get clean and stay clean, they can too.» MORE
|OTHER TREATMENT OPTIONS
In addition to the programs for treating Substance Use Disorders listed on this page, COMBAT also funds multiple Violence Prevention programs that offer counseling and others services for victims of violent crime, including Project Rise at Truman Medical Center.