Opposing Substance Abuse Treatment COSTS You Money

“If you don’t support Insurance coverage of substance abuse it will cost you money in the long run”

As I’ve mentioned often, when conditions cause you to lead a more sedentary life, you have more time to think and the more I think, the more I realize how much I don’t know about nearly everything. One could logically assume that as you age you learn, so by the time you are my age (78) you know a whole lot. Well, the logic doesn’t work because the more you learn, the more questions you have. I now believe that if I live long enough, I won’t know a damn thing.

Speaking of questions, how can some people be so short-sighted that they think providing help or treatment options for people suffering from substance abuse (drugs, alcohol and tobacco) is a waste of money? That thought was likely given birth by rumor and supported by lies because the facts don’t support it.

The estimated cost of substance abuse in the United States is almost $800 billion a year in increased health care costs, crime, and lost productivity. You can get the full story here. https://www.verywell.com/what-are-the-costs-of-drug-abuse-t…

So what if you could prevent some of the effects of substance abuse. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. They support research and programs targeting pressing health issues—from substance abuse to improving access to quality health care.

Their most recent cost-benefit analyses of treatment programs show that for each dollar spent on treatment $7 is saved in return benefits. These benefits arise from decreased crime and its attendant expenses (incarcerations, costs of time in court, etc.), increased employment, fewer medical expenses and others miscellaneous expenses. For example, substance abuse treatment for Medicaid patients reduced total medical costs 30 percent. The reductions were in all major areas of health care utilization (hospital stays, emergency visits and clinic visits), and did not reflect shifts in costs from one area to another.

But that’s all dry data. Let me give the story a human face – me. Since July 17, 1982 I have been in recovery from alcoholism. Prior to entering treatment I was on a greased chute to hell. At a minimum I was either going to do something that would have me incarcerated or hospitalized for a very long time, all at a significant cost to society.

Here’s what treatment and sobriety did for me. Immediately I went back to work and started paying taxes again. A couple of years post treatment I started my own business. Here’s how society benefited from that.

• I leased office space, which helped not only the building owners but the agents who found the space for me. I paid for buildouts in the space which resulted in hiring people to do carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, laying carpet etc.
• I hired people and paid good salaries and bonuses. They became taxpayers, homeowners, and valued members of society
• I paid a myriad of business taxes, which likely helped to keep your taxes down
• I and my employees traveled, paying for hotels, airline tickets, cabs, food all of which helped to strengthen the economy.
• I leased cars, which helped insurance companies, car dealerships, manufacturers, auto service companies and gas stations
• I provided health insurance for my employees. Which took part of the burden off of Medicaid, Emergency Rooms and families.
• My company donated time, energy and dollars to various charitable organizations.
• The services I offered to corporations helped them communicate more effectively keeping their costs down, profits up and limiting their legal liability.

• We paid in to Social Security, Workers Comp, and Unemployment comp.

  • In the time I was in business I bought and sold 3 homes, purchased 6 vehicles, bought untold household furnishings and contributed to charities

And that’s only a partial list but I think you get the idea. Most importantly, I never took out a government loan, never accepted a government or any other kind of handout, and because I was a small business, took advantage of very few tax loopholes.

I don’t have a dollar amount on all of that, but know that what I contributed to society was far greater than the cost of that 28 day treatment program. Furthermore, I know of scores of others who did the same thing I did.

Treatment works, people become productive members of society and that’s what makes you wealthier. Not providing treatment will cost you money, safety and dignity. To do so is short sighted and frankly, stupid.

and from where I sit, that’s the truth.


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