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A drug or alcohol addiction can cost you your job, your education, your family, and your friends. The cost of a drug addiction is very high. But what is the actual, financial cost of a drug overdose? Many organizations try to pin down the number by adding up accident and injury rates, overdoses, and ER admission rates. There are multiple studies on the impact drug use, overdose, and dependence has on both hospitals and the tax-paying public. The total cost is well into the billions, and most of these costs are paid for by tax dollars.

A study done by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) by the division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research reported the estimated cost of alcohol and drug overdoses for 18-24 year olds from 1999 to 2008. This report also provided an estimate on some of the cost of hospitals in 2008, the last year of the report. The report found that the cost of drug overdoses was $266 million for 29,412 alcohol poisoning cases, $198 million for 29,202 cases involving a combination of alcohol and other drugs, and a total of $737 million dollars for 113,907 illicit drug use cases. The cost of all the combined cases exceeded 1.2 billion dollars for the year 2008 with almost 200,000 hospitalizations alone.

Although the 18-24 year old category only represents a fraction of the population, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published a press release in September 2011 highlighting the growing number of adult drug and alcohol overdoses. The NIH cited a study which found 1.6 million people were hospitalized for overdoses in 2008 at an estimated cost of $15.5 billion dollars. About half of those 1.6 million hospitalizations involved alcohol overdoses.

The impact of an overdose not only affects the patient – is also affects the hospital and the services they can provide. One Huffington Post article illustrates the plight of hospitals when it comes to treating burned meth addicts. Cooking meth is very dangerous and can result in massive explosions, leading to many severely burned meth cooks. The article focuses on the impact, cost, and consequences of burned meth addicts who typically cost more than $100,000 to treat. Most of these patients are also uninsured. Unfortunately, seven major burn wards across the country have either closed or combined facilities with other burn wards because of the massive cost associated with treating burned meth addicts. These people are so severely burned that their treatment can easily cost more than five times the amount it takes to treat a regular burn victim.

The cycle of taking drugs, overdosing, recovering, and relapsing takes a toll on the human body and on the hospitals which provide treatment for drug/alcohol addicts. Unless something is done, the vicious cycle will continue. Call us today to learn about how you can break the cycle.

The Cost of an Overdose
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