Suboxone Cost vs Addiction Cost

Let's face it, it takes a lot of money to pay for addiction treatments. But you really have to look at the true addiction cost: all the problems drug use causes, vs. the Suboxone ® cost. The financial cost of Suboxone ® is high. Frequently the financial burden is carried by the patient alone since many insurance companies do not cover the medication. Many are providing some coverage for the doctor visit. The cost of treatment needs to be weighed against the other personal costs and societal costs.

The Cost of Continued Opioid Use

Job Cost: According to SAMHSA, addicts miss over two days of work per month because of their addiction. Whether the employee pays or the employer pays, we are talking about a loss of between $100 and $1000 per month depending how much someone makes. This does not include the indirect costs such as conflicts with others causing decreased production at work, lower salary for the person, or decreased business for the employer.

Legal Cost: Frequently, drug addicts are under the surveillance of law enforcement. There are probation, court, and drug screen screens. We are also dealing with a huge illicit drug trafficking trade in the United States representing a danger to individuals involved. Heroin addicts are well know for stealing to support their habit, but they are not alone. Others addicted to narcotic pills steal medications and possessions from family and friends.

Physical Cost: Addicts are at risk for sexual transmitted diseases through acquisition of the drug. They are at risk for blood clots and bacterial blood infection if opioids are injected. In addition, there is the risk of HIV and hepatitis. Automobile accidents, falls, and accidents due to impairment are problems.

Emotional Cost: Many addicts lead secret lives. Their families are not aware of the risk of financial ruin they are being placed in until it is too late. Hiding, sneaking around, and always being worried about getting caught are things the addicct has to live with when using.

Financial Cost: I've found that most addicts spend about three times on their drug habit than what they would pay if they paid for treatment completely out of pocket. This cost is improved with insurance coverage.

Psychiatric Cost: Addicts have other psychiatric illness more as a rule than as an exception. Depression and other drug and alcohol use are most common. There is a large increase in the risk of death.

Risk of Relapse: When an addict relapses, there is a lost of trust from family members and employers. This frequently leads to job loss and divorce.

Cost of Suboxone ® (buprenorphine) use:

Financial cost: can be as high as $7,000 per year if one pays for medication, doctor visits, and therapy out of pocket. The real cost is about 1/3 of this for many patients.

Physical Cost: Patients may have side effects from continuing to use a narcotic medication (Suboxone ® ) including constipations, risk of withdrawal, and risk to the fetus in pregnancy.

Psychiatric Cost: Many patients wish they did not have to take any medications and continue to struggle with the idea of taking medication for their addiction.

Social Cost: There remains social disapproval for the use of a narcotic to treat an addiction. Patients may be told they are not "clean" by others and this may weigh heavily on them.

Summary of the cost of addiction and the cost of Suboxone :

When considering the financial cost of Suboxone (buprenorphine), one must really consider the other costs of not seeking treatment. The evidence supports long term use of methadone or buprenorphine in most "addicted" people. Once patients are stabilized on methadone or buprenorphine, they tend to do better with their employment, their families, and their legal problems improve.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Rich (Richard Senyszyn MD) interest is with the treatment of opioid addiction with buprenorphine and runs a FREE locator service to find (buprenorphine) suboxone treatment doctors in your area.

Dr. Senysyzn has written more articles on buprenorphine (Suboxone) including frequently asked questions and the How Are Doctore Using Suboxone?.