Addiction is engaging in a behavior that later becomes irresistible. Addicts find it hard to stop whatever they are doing, regardless of whether it is harmful or not. They feel like repeating the activity time and again. A person may be addicted to performing a certain activity or may be addicted to using a particular substance, such as drugs, tobacco or alcohol. As it is well known, too much of anything is dangerous.
Drug addiction in particular leads to the continuous use of too much of a dangerous substance. Other than the health risks that addiction exposes the user to, it is also accompanied by financial costs or implications. These costs may range from the money spent in the particular activity to loss of jobs and wages. Similarly, the society bears the burden of addicts, such as for health care expenses, lost productivity and drug treatment programs.
In a basic calculation, an alcohol addict who buys two six-packs of cheap beer daily will spend about $9. Following the same rate of consumption, in a month, the addict will spend about $270. This translates to $3,348 per year. On the same note, a nicotine addict smoking only a pack each day can spend approximately $2,160. This is a huge amount that could make a significant impact in society if the funds were differently distributed; remember, this is just one person’s addiction cost for one year. Even though it is difficult to precisely estimate what illegal drug addicts spend, research indicates that in the case of marijuana, the user can spend approximately $1,000 per year. On the other hand, an addict of methamphetamine can spend approximately $4,000 or more annually. Heroin or cocaine addicts can spend approximately $1,000 or more.
Loss of Productivity and Income
Addicts of drugs or alcohol in most cases experience problems at work which reduce their ability to perform. These people also miss work more frequently, as well as promotions that could lead to better incomes. Under extreme cases, such people are dismissed from their jobs, putting their families in an economic crisis and ultimately heightening the poverty levels. Furthermore, these people tend to have lower academic qualifications compared to others and so may not secure another job easily.
Insurance Costs and Bills
In the long run, drug addicts may develop illnesses that can be quite expensive to maintain. For instance, habits such as excessive cigarette smoking or the habitual smoking of illegal drugs have been associated with lung cancer. Cancer is a dreaded disease and can destroy a person’s credit and savings in terms of direct expenditures and increases in health insurance. In some cases, the same health problem can lead to loss of work, life insurance coverage and income.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a report estimating the overall costs of drug abuse dating back to the year 2004 estimates costs of illegal substance use to be around $181 million annually in combined healthcare expenditures, drug laws enforcement and lost productivity, among other unprecedented costs. According to the report, alcohol addiction and abuse estimate a social cost of approximately $185 billion annually. On the other hand, tobacco is estimated to cost approximately $193 billion annually. A combination of costs for the three categories totals to approximately $559 billion per year.
Recovering from addiction is one of the most challenging things in life, and requires utmost determination.