The cost of recovery: Drug addiction treatment can be pricey


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Center for Disease Control says 78 Americans die from an opiate overdose every day, 29 of them from heroin. With the drug problem only getting bigger, how much is the cost of addiction treatment and how does it work?

An estimated 435,000 Americans use heroin regularly, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“It’s so cheap. It’s cheaper than a fifth of whiskey. We’re talking $5, sometimes $10,” said Carolyn Givens with Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinics.

The drug’s low price is making it easy for users to get their next high.

“We have Narcan, but the other thing we have to be cautious of is that people get used to thinking they can take themselves out and have somebody else bring them back,” Givens said.

But when an addict reaches the point of wanting help, they can immediately go into detox. The average age of a person getting help at Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinics is 26.

Currently, 14 of the 16 beds at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic in Youngstown are occupied by heroin or opiate addicts, but treatment is expensive.

“If you’re looking at a detox, total composite here could be $10,000 on average,” Givens said. “That would serve you your entire eight months that you’re with us, throughout outpatient, etc.”

Detox is the first step, but Outpatient Director Pam Ramsey says it’s not the same thing as treatment.

“They haven’t really entered into the treatment phase of it yet. What we need to do in detox is get them physically stabilized.”

Board Emeritus Dr. Albert Cinelli says they can get people struggling with addiction into their clinic fast enough.

“We only have 60 detox beds but it’s working better now. We can get them up in one of these houses and get them going.”

That’s the purpose behind Neil Kennedy building a fourth recovery house; helping more people during this major health crisis.

The average stay is roughly 40 days, but the relapse rate is extremely high at around 90 percent.

Insurance will pay for about 28 days of treatment. Medicaid also covers the cost, and self-pay is an option.

After detox, there are 24 sessions with an outpatient group and then a dozen sessions of aftercare.

The cost can add up, but the drug epidemic has already been costly to Ohio. The state had more drug overdose deaths in 2014 than any other except California, according to the CDC.

Ramsey refuses to get discouraged.

“I always say, there is, there’s always hope. There’s absolutely always hope.”

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