Drugs and Money: The Costs of Addiction


Share this infographic on your site!

Drugs and Money

Drug addiction ravages the health of the body and mind, but it can also be ruinous to the wallet. Let’s look at the financial costs associated with drug addiction and treatment, which for most people includes counseling.

Economic Toll

Substance abuse wreaks havoc on U.S. businesses, affecting workers’ health and productivity.
$600 billion
Annual costs related to substance abuse and addiction, including lost productivity and health- and crime-related costs (1)
That’s more than $1,800 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.
How it breaks down (2)
$193 billion Illicit drugs
$193 billion Tobacco
$235 billion Alcohol
2 in 3 drug users are employed. (2)
1 in 12 full-time workers uses illicit drugs on a regular basis. (2)

The Cost of Getting Hooked

In addition to the costs to the economy at large, drug addiction is expensive on its own. How much does a typical drug habit cost?
Heroin (3)
Per day: $70
Per month: $2,100
Per year: $25,200

OxyContin (non-prescription) (3)
Per day: $150
Per month: $4,500
Per year: $54,000
Vicodin (non-prescription) (3)
Per day: $60
Per month: $1,800
Per year: $21,600
Alcohol (two cheap 6-packs a day) (4)

Per day: $9
Per month: $270
Per year: $3,240
Meth (4)
Per day: $11
Per month: $333
Per year: $4,000
Tobacco (1 pack of cigarettes per day) (5)
Per day: $5.50
Per month: $165
Per year: $1,980
Cocaine (4)
Per day: $27
Per month: $833
Per year: $10,000

The Cost of Getting Better

Drug addiction is expensive, but, unfortunately for most addicts, so is treatment. What are those costs and how do they compare with alternative outcomes, like jail?
1 in 10
People who need substance abuse treatment who actually seek treatment (1)
Monthly cost to supply heroin addiction: $2,100 (3)
Monthly cost for inpatient rehab: $20,000 (6)
Monthly cost for incarceration: $2,125 (7)
But it’s worth it: $1 invested in treatment for substance abuse saves taxpayers $7 in future healthcare and criminal justice costs. (8)


1. http://www.drugabuse.gov
2. http://www.whitehouse.gov
3. http://claritydetox.com
4. http://www.recoveryranch.com
5. http://www.lung.org
6. http://www.hazelden.org
7. http://www.cepr.net
8. http://www.nami.org