A look at public's question on costs of addiction vs. treatment


YOUNGSTOWN

At recent local forums on the opioid epidemic, members of the public submitted questions they wanted the local media to answer in its reporting.

One question was: What are the costs of addiction vs. the costs of preventing it?

The consensus among experts and studies is clear on this question: There are prevention strategies that have been proved to be effective, and the costs of implementing those strategies is drastically less expensive than the cost of responding to substance abuse.

What sometimes goes uncalculated, too, are the costs of addiction that go well beyond treatment and health care expenses.

“When we’re able to prevent the onset of substance abuse, as a society we’re able to benefit from what that individual gives to the community,” said Angela DiVito, executive director of Coalition for a Drug-Free Mahoning County. “They’re able to provide for their families. They’re productive workers who benefit their businesses and pay taxes. They are able to contribute time and creativity and so many positives to the community. We lose those things when we don’t provide prevention and addiction happens.”

One of the latest harrowing headlines related to the opioid crisis was that the national epidemic again led to a decrease in U.S. life expectancy.

Read more about the matter in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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