The Cost of Heroin Addiction to Society

Heroin is one of the most rapidly growing problems in the United States and around the world. Around 485,000 people admit to using heroin on a regular basis but much more are either not in a place to admit it or in denial. Most people who use heroin are not prepared to admit it or admit that they need the help of services like those found at This means that there may be millions of people addicted to or at the very least dependent on heroin. Heroin is one of the most costly drugs on the market when you take the overall cost into account.

Although many people understand and realize that heroin or any drug addiction is financially expensive, they do not realize how much heroin can cost those who do not even use it. Much of this cost is in the healthcare that people who are addicts need, legal costs, and the cost of keeping those addicted to heroin incarcerated. All of these costs are paid out of the taxes everyone pays, weekly or yearly.

The cost to American taxpayers is phenomenal. The United States government pays for approximately 46 percent of all of the costs related to the legal and health consequences of heroin addiction. This adds up to around 78.5 billion dollars in healthcare, incarceration, and substance abuse treatment. This does not even get near the amount that it costs America in lost wages for those who cannot work due to a heroin addiction.

The healthcare costs of heroin are probably the most extreme. Heroin overdose alone costs around $92,400 per patient that is in intensive care. This cost is increasing rapidly. The people who pay this cost are the American taxpayers.

The total healthcare bill for heroin addiction is around 22 billion dollars per year. This means that the United States spends $60,273,972 dollars per day. That is over 60 million dollars every day.

The legal costs of heroin addiction are almost as high. Although this number varies depending on the prison and the city, it costs approximately $160,000 dollars per inmate, per year. For a single person to be in jail for their heroin addiction for a single day is around $450. That is $3,150 a week, and $12,600 per year. This cost is borne almost entirely by the American taxpayer.

These numbers do not include state-run rehabs, court costs that the taxpayers bear, and other health-related fees. These fees alone can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions per day. It is important to understand that heroin addiction does not only cost the addict, it can cost an entire society.

It is much less expensive to treat heroin addiction. Cost of treatment per day depending on the area can be as little as $16. It rarely reaches $100 per day. Of course, in order to avoid the cost of heroin addiction to society, more people need heroin detox and heroin addiction treatment. Treatment is one of the only ways to avoid the personal, financial, and social costs associated with heroin addiction.