Addiction May Be Straining State Budgets

By Staff Writer

The problems of opiate and cocaine addiction not only take a toll on the individuals who suffer from chemical dependency, but the issues are also putting significant strain on state and local budgets at a time when they can ill afford the extra expenditures.

For example, state health officials in Michigan recently told the Grand Rapids Press that the cost for treating opiate addiction with methadone therapy increased 22 percent over the course of the previous year. The number of people seeking this therapy nearly doubled.

The cost of funding methadone treatment programs was $6.5 million. When the complimentary counseling services were added, the total topped out at $11.7 million.

While this may represent a significant strain on the state’s budget, experts told the news source that providing the treatment may actually results in less spending. Methadone therapy is less expensive than incarcerating an addict and it reduces the burden of communicable diseases in the community.

About 20 percent of all opiate addicts are currently taking advantage of methadone treatment options, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.