The Cost of Substance Abuse: The Use of Administrative Data to Investigate Treatment Benefits in a Rural Mountain State

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Findings from cost-benefit evaluations have suggested that the cost of substance abuse treatment is covered by the economic benefits to society. In this research we measure the economic impact of substance abuse treatment in a rural mountain state. Using a novel approach, cost data were gathered from four disparate state administrative databases, which were selected and matched to form one complete data set. A cost-benefit analysis was used to examine the aggregate economic impact of substance abuse treatment. The conservative post treatment outcome of the combined costs revealed a range or $4.12 to $3.98 million dollar overall offset, a difference that resulted in 20 to 16 percent savings above the fixed treatment cost. Policy implications are discussed.

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