Treatment of substance abuse is an ever-evolving process, and we understand more each day how the physical and emotional aspects of ourselves are affected by this disease. We also understand that the individual who is addicted is not suffering alone; their disease affects their family, their employment, and society as a whole. The cost of these effects is staggering in terms of both financial and emotional outlay.
Can we assign worth to our own health? Taking illegal organ sales into account, a healthy person would be valued at about $45 million USD. However, if we were just to consider our chemical construction, it would be about $1 USD. So, when we consider the costs of addiction treatment, how do we know there is value for it? What is a reasonable cost? For some, a cost-benefit analysis may help. How much money is the person spending directly on their substance or behaviour of choice?
Let us look at alcoholism:
In Manitoba, the least expensive option for a beer drinker is about $10.65 for an 8 pack. If they’re buying an 8-pack every day, that adds up to $3887.25 a year. Wine drinkers would spend a minimum of $2332.35 a year, and those who drink a bottle of hard alcohol a day would spend a minimum of $2916.35 a year. Now add the cost of sick days, lost work productivity, health care for alcohol-related illness, and a lawyer if you have been charged with driving impaired or are getting divorced. There are also many costs associated with substance abuse that are not so tangible. The suffering endured by family, friends, and the person themselves are often the ones with the most harmful consequences. How does it add up to the costs of treatment?
The cost of treatment often prevents many addicts and their families from seeking help, but the risk of continued substance abuse has more significant consequences — possibly costing a person their life. The addict seeking help needs available and immediate treatment for both themselves and their loved ones, and Aurora’s ability to provide this opens up a window of opportunity to heal, connect and recover.