Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 166–171

The cost-effectiveness of substance abuse treatment


  • Paul G. Barnett
    • Health Economics Resource Center and Center for Health Care EvaluationVA Palo Alto Health Care System

DOI: 10.1007/s11920-999-0027-8

Cite this article as:
Barnett, P.G. Curr Psychiatry Rep (1999) 1: 166. doi:10.1007/s11920-999-0027-8


Researchers have estimated the cost of treating substance abuse and its effects on medical care and social service expenses, but have rarely used the methods developed to evaluate medical care interventions. When outcomes are expressed as quality-adjusted life years, substance abuse treatment may be compared with other types of health care. This method has found smoking cessation and methadone maintenance to be highly cost-effective health care programs.

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