Failure to treat incarcerated drug abusers can lead to higher crime rates and re-incarceration, says a study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported by the Washington Times. The costs of treatment are not nearly so high as the costs to society when drug abuse is ignored. “Ninety-five percent of those who receive no treatment while incarcerated end up relapsing into drugs. And 70 percent of those end up re-incarcerated as a result,” said NIDA director Nora Volkow. “By changing those numbers, we can reduce crime and lower the financial cost. Simply putting a drug abuser in jail without treatment does nothing.”
NIDA said every dollar spent toward effective treatment programs yields a $4 to $7 return in reduced drug-related crime. That return is even greater when health care savings are taken into account. Only 20 percent of those who need treatment get treatment, Volkow said.