Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder Research Report
How much does opioid treatment cost?

Although the price for opioid treatment may vary based on a number of factors, recent preliminary cost estimates from the U.S. Department of Defense for treatment in a certified opioid treatment program (OTP) provide a reasonable basis for comparison:98

  • methadone treatment, including medication and integrated psychosocial and medical support services (assumes daily visits):  $126.00 per week or $6,552.00 per year
  • buprenorphine for a stable patient provided in a certified OTP, including medication and twice-weekly visits: $115.00 per week or $5,980.00 per year
  • naltrexone provided in an OTP, including drug, drug administration, and related services: $1,176.50 per month or $14,112.00 per year

To put these costs into context, it is useful to compare them with the costs of other conditions. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, annual expenditures for individuals who received health care are $3,560.00 for those with diabetes mellitus and $5,624.00 for kidney disease.110 

It is also important to remember the costs associated with untreated opioid use disorders, including costs associated with:

  • criminal justice
  • treating babies born dependent on opioids
  • greater transmission of infectious diseases
  • treating overdoses
  • injuries associated with intoxication (e.g., drugged driving)
  • lost productivity

The amount paid for treatment of substance use disorders is only a small portion of the costs these disorders impose on society. An analysis suggested that the total costs of prescription opioid use disorders and overdoses in the United States was $78 billion in 2013. Of that, only 3.6 percent, or about $2.8 billion, was for treatment.111