Economic Impact of Alaska Addiction

Economic Impact of Addiction in Alaska

Alaska addiction treatment facilities work hard to help patients on an individual basis, doing what they can every day to lessen the state’s growing problem with substance dependency. Despite their efforts, however, Alaska addiction statistics continue to return problematic figures. Even worse, a 2016 report on Alaska addiction economic costs and a similar report on alcoholism costs indicate that the problem is not confined to addicts and their loved ones.

The economic impact of addiction in Alaska should make it abundantly clear that substance use disorder either directly or indirectly affects everyone in the state. Understanding the economic costs of addiction in Alaska will not solve the problem. It will, however, assert the need for strong Alaska treatment programs.

Alaska Addiction Economic Impact

Records of Alaska substance use costs point to massive losses throughout the state. The economic impact of Alaska drug addiction totals about $1.215 billion, while Alaska alcohol addiction costs the state approximately $1.836 billion. Combining these two reports, Alaska loses close to $3.051 billion on addiction every year. Breaking down these numbers into cost categories, Alaska addiction economic costs can be itemized as follows:

  • Productivity losses – $1.317 billion
  • Traffic collisions – $990 million
  • Criminal justice – $406 million
  • Health care – $316 million
  • Social services – $22 million

Note that the highest figure, productivity loss, relates to more than workplace absenteeism and diminished productivity. This figure also includes incarceration and premature death, the latter of which accounts for more than 70% of total productivity losses. More specifically, Alaska economic costs related to drug-related deaths totaled $391.4 million, with another $581.5 million lost from alcohol-related deaths.

Also note that these figures were not arbitrarily inflated. For deaths to be considered drug-related or alcohol-related, the substance in question had to factor into the primary diagnosis when assessing the cause of death. Given the prevalence of illicit drugs in total Alaska overdose death rates for 2016, high costs related to premature death are hardly surprising. In fact, since Alaska overdose statistics generally increased from 2009 to 2016, it is safe to assume that the economic impact of addiction in Alaska has grown over the years. Alaska addiction economic costs may continue this upward trend if not for the help of Alaska addiction treatment centers.

How Alaska Addiction Treatment Helps

Since economic reports factor Alaska addiction treatment into the costs of substance use, some might assume that treatment facilities only add to the problem. However, one must also consider that only approximately 11.8% of Alaska addicts receive drug addiction treatment each year, as per the 2015 behavioral health barometer. Averaging the standard 40-60% national relapse rate to an even 50% and performing a few basic mathematic adjustments, we can see that providing Alaska addiction treatment to all addicts would reduce drug-related economic costs from $1.215 billion to approximately $619 million.

This would account for increased treatment costs, continued use by addicts who relapse, and reductions in other economic costs in the case of those who remain sober. We can perform similar calculations for the possible savings associated with alcohol addiction treatment. Combining the cost of providing treatment to the 89.4% of alcoholics not receiving it with the estimated cost of relapse, then subtracting the economic cost reductions that would result from widespread recovery, Alaska alcoholism costs would drop from $1.836 billion to approximately $932 million.

It should be noted that these numbers are fairly idealistic. While they do factor in an approximate relapse rate of 50%, they also attempt to predict a reality in which 100% of addicts and alcoholics receive the services they need. Under these very specific circumstances, Alaska addiction treatment could cut the economic impact of addiction in Alaska nearly in half. This reality may never come to pass, but Alaska addiction economic costs can still experience a reduction if those who need treatment make a greater effort to seek it.

Finding Alaska Addiction Treatment

The economic costs of Alaska addiction may be mitigated if more addicts and alcoholics seek the treatment they need, but there is no reason that those in need cannot seek out-of-state care in lieu of Alaska addiction treatment. Those who have trouble choosing an Alaska treatment program, or who simply feel uncomfortable entering recovery in the same environment in which they used, may wish to consider other options.

Due to environmental triggers at home and the waiting periods required before some Alaska drug rehabs are able to provide open beds, many seek treatment at one of Aspire Health Network’s California facilities instead. One of our top facilities is Canyon View Treatment Centers, an Anaheim-based facility that excels in a process known as deep dive cue extinction. Through this process, we work to eliminate the internal cues that often lead to substance use. This prevents addicts and alcoholics from experiencing cravings or mental obsession, prolonging their sobriety and further mitigating Alaska addiction economic costs.

For more information on our treatment options and how recovery can save you money in the long run, contact Aspire today. Help is never as far out of reach as it may seem—not when Aspire is here to provide it.