What is your biggest vice?
Is it the weekly dinner out with friends? Specialty coffee picked up on your way into work every morning? Or online shopping for the latest new shoes?
For those of us who do not suffer from addiction, these vices are not detrimental to our daily lives. Our personal finances, family, social lives, and jobs are not at jeopardy when we choose to indulge.
We're aware of our expenses and if our habitual vices start becoming a problem, we have the ability to choose to stop ourselves before serious problem begin.
Unfortunately, a daily addict is unable to make that choice.
The costs of addiction go far beyond the financial impact and are shockingly lofty. A user's family, job, productivity, and mental and physical health are all impacted by addiction.
What Causes Addiction?
Before exploring the causes of addiction, it's important to understand that addiction is the inability to choose to stop a habit or abuse problem.
The exact causes of addiction vary depending on the person, experiences, emotional/mental factors, and for the most part remain unclear. However, there are common themes that lead an addict to continue their addiction despite how great the price.
There is a link between socioeconomic status and drug use. Individuals living in poverty are more likely to use drugs and alcohol as a method of escapism from the pain and stress of their environment.
People suffering from depression and traumatic experiences are also more like to cope using drugs and alcohol to numb their pain.
A Daily Addict's Expenditure on Drugs
Addiction is not cheap and costs many addicted individuals thousands of dollars each year.
The cost of alcohol and cigarettes is low compared to that of other drug addictions. How much a daily addict readily spends varies as the dependency tolerance of the drug grows.
To break it down further here are the costs of a few popular drugs.
Compared to the more expensive drugs listed below, alcohol is more affordable. Factor in that alcohol is legal, making it widely available and easy to access.
The cost of alcohol varies on the user's taste and tolerance. A heavy alcoholic drinking a 12 pack of beer and a bottle of liquor a day will spend about $35. Repeat that daily and that user is spending over $12,000 each year.
Like alcohol, nicotine is also legal and amply available.
A pack of cigarettes costs around $6. A light smoker may smoke a pack per week while a heavy smoker smokes a pack per day. A heavy smoker will spend around $2,000 a year on cigarettes.
A single gram of coke costs $60. An addict can spend anywhere from $450 to $1,200 each day depending on their situation. Over the course of a year that amounts to over $100,000.
The street cost of one 4 mg opioid pill is $3. As an individual becomes tolerant, they require more causing some users to take 160 mg or more in a single day. That equates to about $75-100 each day or $27,000 per year.
Heroine is a very addictive and expensive drug. Depending on the availability and type of heroin, the cost for a single hit can vary from $15 to $20 for 0.1 of a gram. Most addicted users will take more than a single hit.
As an individual's addiction progresses, their dependence grows and their tolerance becomes greater causing a heavily addicted person to require more to reach the same level of high. These users will spend anywhere from $225-$375 each day. In a year that user will pay upwards of $80,000.
Imbalance in Economic Status
The cost of addiction has a greater impact on those living in poverty. Referring back to the cost of cigarettes, $2,000 is 10% of an individual's income who is living in poverty.
The Greater Costs
The financial costs of these substances extends beyond the purchasing price. Insurance premiums, legal fees, jail time, and treatment are costs that an individual with an addiction will face.
DUI's, frequent hospital trips, rehabilitation, and chronic health issues sprouting from substance abuse raises an individual's insurance premiums.
Rising premiums makes insurance affordability more difficult. Eventually, addicted individuals drop their insurance altogether. Absence of health insurance leads to penalty fees and fines.
Jail Time and Legal Fines
When an addicted individual is strapped for cash, they resort to stealing, prostitution, robbery, and selling of stolen goods or illegal drugs to support their addiction.
Not all users are caught, but those who are, are faced with fines, court fees, or jail time based on the severity of their crime. After facing these charges, it is more challenging for an individual to find a job, gain the trust of their friends and family, and recover on their own.
Effects on Social Life
An individual's entire social circle, from their friends and family to their relationships at work is affected by addiction. When an addicted individual loses the trust of their family and friends, they become more reliant their substance of choice.
Abusing drugs and alcohol impedes an individual's ability to maintain their productivity in the work place. An individual with an addiction is more likely to call in or miss work, and when they are present, their work becomes inconsistent and lacks quality.
The lack in quality work performance causes missed opportunities for growth as well as tensions between employees and superiors. As this progresses, individuals with an addiction problem are likely to lose their jobs.
Family and Friends
Disconnect can grow between the friends and family and the daily addict as trust and view points between each other wanes and differ. The addict's need for the drug or alcohol can cause them to steal from friends and family, lie, and focus on themselves and their drug above all else.
Reliance on the substance grows as the daily addict becomes more excluded and alone.
Some people are predisposed for addiction based on environmental factors beyond their control. Children who are raised by a parent/s with addiction problems are more likely to mimic their parents' habits and less likely to further or complete their education due to financial restrictions.
Each year, billions of dollars are spent by society to combat drug and substance abuse. Law enforcement, insurance dissipation, wasted productivity, and physical damage to public and private property.
What Can You Do?
The costs a daily addict faces are shocking and affect everyone from the individual's family to society as a whole. Individuals with addiction are often unaware of how much they spend and cost others while in the clutches of addiction.
There isn't a quick solution to addiction even with treatment. Seeking and receiving treatment is ultimately up to the addicted individual.
Are you or is someone you know struggling from drug abuse or alcohol addiction? Please contact us to discuss options and next steps to entering a residential treatment center. No matter how severe your addiction is there is always help.