Cost Effectiveness of Treatment vs. Law Enforcement in Reducing Substance Use

Cost Effectiveness of Substance Use Treatment

The RAND Corporation found that the additional spending needed to achieve a 1% reduction in the number of cocaine users varies according to the sort of program used, and that treatment is the most cost-effective:

Effect of Control Programs on the Number of Cocaine Users
Control Program Cost of a 1% Decrease

in Cocaine Users per year

Ratio of Program Cost

to Treatment Cost

Source-country control $2,062,000,000 13.3
Interdiction 964,000,000 6.2
Domestic enforcement 675,000,000 4.4
Treatment 155,000,000 +1.0

Rydell, C.P. & Everingham, S.S., Controlling Cocaine, Prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the United States Army (Santa Monica, CA: Drug Policy Research Center, RAND Corporation, 1994), p. 36.