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National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study: Cost of Treatment


Cost of Treatment

The NTIES study examined the overall cost of treatment for a variety of treatment modalities as well as the way the CSAT grants were used.

Treatment appears to be cost effective, particularly when compared to incarceration, which is often the alternative. Treatment costs ranged from a low of about $1,800 per client to a high of approximately $6,800 per client. While the cost of incarceration was not examined by NTIES, widely reported studies such as one reported by the American Correctional Association, gave an estimated 1994 cost of incarceration as $18,330 annually.

Table 6 provides cost comparisons for a variety of types of treatment. It shows that:

  • Outpatient methadone treatment costs were about $13/day, with an average stay of 300 days. Total cost: $3,900;
  • Outpatient non-methadone treatment costs were about $15/day for an average treatment period of approximately 120 days. Total cost: $1,800;
  • In a correctional setting, prison or jail, where substance abuse treatment was provided, it cost $24/day, for an average of 75 days of treatment (over and above all other costs of incarceration). Total substance abuse treatment cost: $1,800;
  • Long-term residential care costs were an estimated $49/day, for an average of about 140 days. Total cost: $6,800; and
  • Short-term residential treatment costs averaged about $130/day for a typical stay of 30 days. Total cost: $4,000.


Click here for the next part in the series, “Appendix.” Click here to return to the Index for the National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study.

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