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The True Cost of Addiction When You Don’t Seek Treatment

Some may think that drug treatment programs are too expensive. But, when you consider the true cost of addiction in all its forms, including financial, physical, emotional, and the legal ramifications, you will realize how much money you can actually save when compared to a life of addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Actually, this type of negative thinking is found not only with the actual drug abuser, but may also be present within the minds of those closest to the addict – family, friends, and concerned job associates who may be in the midst of enabling the addict to continue destructive behaviors.

Cost of Addiction Reality Check

Everyone’s brain has built-in mechanisms that seek to reduce the amount of emotional and mental pain they may suffer. Some of these same defense mechanisms work to blur the true reality for addicts and codependent family members – causing them to think that drug treatment is too expensive.

To avoid facing the severity of an addiction problem within families, people may neutralize real world problems that are happening in real-time, including a diminished functioning of the entire family. Sometimes, irrational logic is used. This is the same as making excuses to rationalize irrational behavior, which is the addict’s true reality. And finally, our brains have a way of minimizing the financial costs it takes to support an addiction, even though the family may be facing thousands of dollars in drug-related expenses that are a direct result of the addict’s behavior.

The actual dollar figures for each person’s addiction will vary, but one thing is certain – that number will increase as the addict’s tolerance increases and ability to control the compulsion to use drugs decreases. Here are some calculated figures of the real cost of an addiction:

  • A heavy weekend drinker can spend over $3,000/year and a binge drinker can top $6,000/year easily
  • An ounce of marijuana yields 42 joints and an addict may spend $7,000 per year smoking 4 joints per day
  • A cocaine addict can quickly spend $100 per use; most will spend up to $10,000 within a year
  • Hardcore heroin addicts must maintain a level of the drug in their systems, spending up to $200 a day
  • A prescription opioid addiction may cost up to $70,000/year when forced to buy from street dealers

When compared to the cost of detox, drug rehab, and recovery programs – the reality is that the one time financial investment can stop a lifetime of financial, mental, and physical ruin that will continue to spiral out of control.


Many people don’t think about the hard costs of drug addiction which include incarceration, legal fees, a reduction or a loss of income, increased medical problems over a lifetime, the loss of homes and other property, the loss of your sanity, and the loss of your self-respect. The other costs of drug addiction to society include:

  • The spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C
  • Deaths from overdose
  • Effects on unborn children
  • Crime, unemployment, domestic abuse, divorce, and homelessness

The True, Personal Cost of Addiction

When families do a reality check, they will find the true cost of addiction as it relates to their total well-being is much more than the cost of inpatient drug rehabilitation programs. We will explore some of those costs here:

Violence and Accidents – For most addicts, the inability to sustain their drug use or drinking at high levels can induce a violent reaction that may be directed at the spouse, children, or even strangers. There are steep costs attached to the car accidents and violent behavior that substance abuse can incite.

Add the cost of medical bills due to car accidents, increased car insurance costs, jail time, license suspension, bail, and legal costs which all add up when the offender is found to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

Divorce or Marriage Counseling – You can face the high costs of marriage counseling or pay a divorce lawyer to end the marriage – but either way, you’re going to pay. And these costs come with a lifetime of regret, broken homes, and emotional pain. There is no price that can substitute for a happy and healthy family.

Add the cost of marriage counselors, divorce lawyers, arbitrators, and temporary housing for the divorced spouse when addiction rips family’s apart.

Chronic Brain Damage – Long-term, heavy use of drugs and alcohol will eventually cause permanent and irreversible damage to brain, liver, and the heart. Cognitive abilities will decrease, making it difficult to perform the same job duties as before. Demotions and firing are a very common cost of addiction.

Add the cost of a lowered ability to concentrate and think, insomnia, and a much lower level of physical stamina, as drug abuse depletes the body of its resources – emotionally, mentally, and physically. Likely, the addict or alcoholic will earn less and less money as the addiction continues due to the loss of brain and body functioning.

Loss of Freedom – Heavy drinking and drug addiction will in itself take away a certain amount of freedom – as the drugs demand more and more of your attention, money, and time. But a real cost of addiction is the loss of freedom when a person experiences multiple DUIs or is caught in a drug sting operation while attempting to buy street narcotics.

Add the cost of a major reduction in the family’s assets and freedom when a home, jewelry, and cars may also be lost in an attempt to pay for the legal consequences of an addict who breaks the law and faces jail time and penalties.

Treatment as a Less Costly Solution

What was not mentioned before was the extreme amounts of money it takes to drink or consume drugs on a regular basis. This financial loss in the family’s buying power is often overcome by dipping into savings accounts, retirement funds, or selling off assets. If you are struggling with how to pay for an inpatient drug treatment program and may need to resort to the same measures such as accessing funds that were put aside for other plans – keep this one factor in mind.

An untreated drug addict will eventually deplete financial reserves, the longer they are increasing their drug use. A drug treatment program will intervene in this downward spiral, and any costs for a drug rehab program that is successfully completed will stop the cycle and enable the person to return to a lifestyle where they are contributing financially, mentally, and physically to the family.

Consider a treatment center like BrainSpark Health, where in the long term, treatment will be less expensive. We offer a cost effective, program that only require a 10-day commitment. Instead of wasting money on lengthy, unproven programs, you or your loved one can avoid missing time from work.

Contact us at BrainSpark Health to learn about your options. We now accept insurance programs to relieve the financial costs of treatment for addiction.