“Drug rehabilitation will really impact society and save hundreds of billions of dollars,” says Clark Carr, president of Narconon Interntional, “when it demonstrates it can reduce relapse to drugs, not just keep addicts off the streets for a few months.” Recently reviewing statistics of Narconon program graduates, Carr compared them to the costs society would have had if Narconon’s recovered addicts had continued to do drugs. Carr estimates that since 1990 in the United States alone the Narconon network might have saved city, county, state, and federal governments minimally $1.5 billion, probably much more, by preventing the extended costs of drug abuse and addiction.
“Crunch the numbers yourselves,” Carr says. “Narconon drug rehab centers have graduated 10,000 students in the US since 1990. Our average rate of graduates living stably drug-free is 75%, monitored through staff routine outcome monitoring, procedures validated and commended by CARF (the Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission.) A daily average spent by a serious addict on his drugs is $100 per day, which is $36,500 per year. Some spend much more. If our 7,500 drug-free graduates had continued spending $100 per day on drugs for another five years, that would be 7,500 x 36,500 x 5 = $1,368,750,000. But that is just what they would have spent on drugs! Not the other costs of arresting and repeatedly treating them.”
In Los Angeles County, justice costs alone, Carr computes, are $16,000 per arrestee. Sample stats: L.A. adult arrests due to drugs in 2006 were 25,718. Drug-related emergency room admissions were 46,600. The costs just add up and up, until finally, as Columbia University’s May 2009 CASA paper “Shoveling Up II” stated, “Federal and state governments spend more than 60 times as much to clean up the devastation substance abuse and addiction visits on children as they do on prevention and treatment for them.”
“Here’s the unexploded bomb,” says Carr. “Those 46,000 addicts treated in L.A. emergency rooms stated that they had had between 1 and 6 earlier failures to rehabilitate from drugs. The revolving door of ineffective drug rehabilitation is a cost that we should and that Narconon is doing something about.”