Costs and Benefits: How Expensive is Addiction Recovery?

Last Updated: July 2, 2021

There are a number of factors that go into determining how much it will cost to get treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. The first thing one should do is get a substance abuse evaluation in order to determine what kind of treatment is needed.
Evaluations are available at rehabilitation facilities, counseling centers, as well as through third-party services providers. Some substance abuse evaluations cost money (up to $200 in some cases), whereas others are free.
Often, if one goes to a facility, one is considering getting treatment from, one can be evaluated for free. Treatment is what costs the most.
Odds are, if one is looking into different addiction treatment options and the costs of those options, one already has a pretty clear idea of what the results of a substance abuse evaluation would look like for. How much treatment costs depend on the type of facility to attend.

Types of Recovery Services

Recovery services and rehabilitation treatments can be received in either outpatient or inpatient programs. Outpatient programs tend to be less expensive and do not require complete admission into a center or hospital, while inpatient programs require admission to a facility and tend to be more comprehensive in their treatment and more expensive.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient treatment offers detox programs and recovery support services. While insurance may cover all or some of the costs for detoxification, out-of-pocket costs for a detox program can range from $250 to $650. Insurance may cover detoxification in part or in whole, but it’s possible one will only be allowed to choose from a certain set of providers if one wants a portion of the costs to be covered. Out-of-network facilities always cost more. But remember, just ridding a person’s body of toxins doesn’t keep them sober. Actual recovery starts when the detox stage is complete.

Often times, people can receive recovery support services at little to no out-of-pocket cost. Though individual counseling and therapy sessions can cost more depending on whether the patient sees an in- or out-of-network provider, there are many peer support and recovery groups that are run by either nonprofit organizations, charities, or churches that people may attend for free. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous accepts donations to help pay for things like rent for the meeting space or coffee, but just enrolling in the program does not cost anything.
Costs vary widely from one type of treatment to another, and can even vary quite a bit within each of the three categories listed here. Factors that determine program costs include program intensity/frequency of services and types of services offered. The following numbers are simply there to provide a possible range of cost so those seeking treatment can prepare themselves for the possibilities.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
These programs host recovery groups and provide other forms of peer support, as well as dispense medical detox treatments. Patients visit a treatment facility three to five times each week for four to six hours at a time and then return home at the end of the day to be with family and sleep. This option cuts down on costs significantly as compared to an inpatient treatment facility due to the elimination of room and board and other living expenses.
On average, PHP costs clients $350 to $450 per day and lasts for several weeks.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
An IOP allows patients to continue on with their everyday lives—to continue going to work or school—while receiving treatment. An IOP can also be a healthy way for people to make the transition back to normal, daily life after being in an inpatient treatment facility or a PHP. Generally, IOP programs require patients to attend at least three meetings or counseling sessions per week, each lasting anywhere from two to four hours, sometimes longer. Programs include group therapy, individual counseling and therapy, drug tests, and many times, workshops that can introduce patients to a number of holistic treatment approaches like yoga and exercise, or even new hobbies, such as painting or learning to play a musical instrument. IOPs encourage patients to set both short-term and long-term goals to help them maintain sobriety. These programs typically last for eight to 12 weeks. A survey conducted by Open Minds Consulting, which incorporated cost data from the programs of 44 private providers, found the average to be around $7,000 for a 10-week program.
The cost of a 30-day IOP program is said to range anywhere from $3,000 to 10,000.
Outpatient Treatment Programs (OP)
Clients are required to report to a treatment facility between three and seven nights per week for a one- to two-hour group or individual counseling session. Depending on the program, general outpatient care can range from $20 per day to $350 per day, though other sources estimate the weekly costs of outpatient treatment to be less than $500 per week.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Inpatient treatment is a great option for those who may have tried other recovery support services and outpatient treatments, but are still struggling with external temptations at school, work, home, or other environments. There are short-term and long-term treatment lengths available. Short-term treatment ranges from a week to under 30 days, whereas long-term treatment is often available in 30-, 60-, and 90-day programs.
Treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation center can cost as little as $7,500 per month for standard treatment and as much as $80,000 per month for treatment at high-end luxury facilities like the ones celebrities attend when they need help with addiction. Most well-known rehabilitation facilities cost between $10,000 and $20,000 per month. Things like Medicaid, Medicare, and other types of insurance can help cover these costs in many situations. Many treatment facilities also offer some form of a payment plan or other method of financial assistance.
Ultra-luxury rehabilitation facilities
These facilities may have different programs and different rules of operation in general. For example, some luxury rehab centers allow children and/or pets. Some facilities offer new mothers 24-hour access to a pediatrician. Luxury rehab centers often have scenic views, and an overall serene setting, state-of-of-the-art exercise facilities, and other extracurricular activities.
These are the ones that can cost up to (or more than) $80,000 per month.
Standard rehabilitation centers
Though standard inpatient rehab facilities often charge between $10,000 and $20,000, the average cost for an inpatient rehabilitation center in 2014 was reported to be $18,000 per month according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. These treatment facilities may allow children or pets and have things like swimming pools or other tools used to promote physical fitness.
Government-funded and nonprofit rehabilitation centers
Government-funded rehabilitation centers can provide treatment for almost no cost to the patient. However, because these centers are state-funded, they may not treat addiction in the same ways as other facilities. For example, some programs offer detoxing and medical management services only, instead of offering counseling programs or other recovery support services in addition to detox. An important thing to know about state-funded rehab centers is that there are often waiting lists to get into one because of limited funding and high demand for low-cost addiction treatment. Though each state agency has its own standards, a person applying to attend a state-funded rehabilitation center is typically required to provide proof of residency, proof of income status, and some personal information about the history and degree of his or her addiction. Contact information for the different state agencies that manage these programs may be found here:
After Rehab

Extended Addiction Treatment Options

Although there are a number of factors that determine the cost of certain extended treatment options (truly ranging from $50 to $10,000 per month), sober living, or “halfway houses,” tend to cost between $1,500 and $2,500 per month. Churches, charities, and nonprofit organizations sometimes offer sober living arrangements at no cost to a limited amount of individuals.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Medical detox is often the best option for those withdrawing from alcohol, opiates, and benzodiazepines because of the dangers associated with a sudden discontinuation of use. Local clinics can supply withdrawal and craving-reduction medications at reduced costs based on income due to government subsidies. Other times, medications may be included in the cost of an inpatient rehabilitation program.
Methadone treatments, for example, cost an average of $18 per day from an outpatient clinic and around $76 per day when included in the cost of an inpatient rehab program.
If participating in an outpatient program, or with a prescription from the regular doctor, Medicaid and Medicare can help cover the costs of some medications that help people get through the different stages of recovery. Different prescription discount websites also have coupons available that can help people pay for rehab medications with co-pays that may be lower than the ones their insurance offers.
Regardless of how one pays for them, co-pays for medications used to treat addiction (including co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression) can be anywhere from $2 to $400+ for a 30-day supply.

What Is the Cost of Addiction vs. the Cost of Rehab?

While it can be difficult to imagine spending hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands on addiction treatment, think about how much the addiction may be costing on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis. Even mild alcohol addictions can cost more than $10,000 per year. Cocaine and heroin habits can cost upwards of $50,000 per year.
What other priceless or otherwise immeasurable things has the addiction cost?

  • Failed classes
  • Lost jobs
  • Damaged relationships
  • Estrangement from family members

Most importantly, the addiction will eventually cost either freedom or life.
Get help today. Stop throwing money at the addiction. Save yourself from future drug expenses, lawyer fees, and broken relationships by putting that money to good use and getting treatment.

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Published on: November 2nd, 2016

Updated on: July 2nd, 2021