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Examining Success Rates of Drug Rehab Programs

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If you’re considering treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, or you’ve already begun your journey to sobriety, you’ve probably heard some negative statistics about inpatient treatment–its costs, its success rates, and the fundamental ideologies behind it. Much is myth, and much is misunderstood. Statistics alone don’t quite speak volumes when dealing with something so broad, so complex, and so reliant on the individual rather than the service alone.


Inpatient treatment costs $3,200 on average. 73% of addicts complete treatment and 21% remain sober after five years.

Residential treatment costs $3,100 on average. 51% of addicts complete treatment and 21% remain sober after five years.

Detox costs $2,200 on average. 33% of addicts complete treatment and 17% remain sober after five years.

Outpatient drug-free treatments cost $1,200 on average. 43% of addicts complete treatment and 18% remain sober after five years.

After reading those stats, you may be wondering if treatment is worthwhile. If not even a quarter of patients remain abstinent for five years afterward, how can treatment be expected to work?


The answer may seem obvious; drug treatment is effective if an addict achieves sobriety and stays clean, right? However, the question is much more loaded and nuanced than that.

Some factors that determine efficacy, According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy:

Reduced drug use (complete abstinence, using the substance less frequently, using a smaller amount of the substance in general and per instance of use, and longer periods of time between relapses).

Improvements in employment (working more days and/or getting involved in training programs or school).

Improvements in education (attending more often and getting better grades).

Relationship improvements (friends, family, romantic partners, and coworkers).

Improved health (fewer visits to the doctor and the ER)

Better legal status (fewer arrests and convictions, and fewer crimes committed).

Better mental health– marked by improved mood and personality traits, higher levels of cognition, and reduced psychotic states and need for treatment.

Improved public safety– including drug-related fires, car accidents, and trauma to yourself or others.


Only once, out of twenty-three total factors, is complete sobriety mentioned. Also take into account that relapse rates for drug addiction vary between 40-60%, much like that of Type I diabetes (30-50%) and hypertension and asthma (both 50-70%). If you think of addiction as a disease, which it absolutely is, the statistics don’t seem so grim: In fact, when compared to relapses for other disease, the statistics can be considered somewhat comforting.

At the end of the day, treatment is about achieving complete sobriety; it’s about getting through today sober. One day, hopefully, you can look back at the last several years and say “I did it! I was sober!” But even then, you wouldn’t be cured, and in order to continue on, you’d have to return to your previous mindset right then and there: You’re not cured, you’re treated; you’re still being treated; you’re improving your quality of life as a whole, something statistics can’t measure.

Blueprints provides a pathway to recovery for young people with addiction. Contact us to find out how we can support your journey to recovery.