Addiction comes with a price. This price affects the individual who is addicted, as well as their families and loved ones. Besides the emotional and physical cost of addiction, there is also an economic impact. A recent report from the Surgeon General claims that our country spends $442 billion a year in dealing with drug and alcohol abuse. This economic cost leaves us to only speculate the billions of dollars lost in workplace productivity, healthcare, criminal justice expenses, and so much more.
Baylor University has recently released a study on the financial impact of Faith-Based Programs in 11 cities. This study was performed by Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion. These findings were an even greater affirmation to us that we have an answer to this issue. The results of this study showed that faith-based organizations provide the majority of emergency shelter beds in the country (at 58 percent). The determination was also made that, Faith-Based Programs, are at the forefront of developing long-term solutions to the problem through intervention, recovery, job training, and addiction recovery services in general.
The financial impact was estimated at a $9.42 in taxpayer savings for every $1 invested by the government. In just the 11 cities studied, an estimated $119 million in tax savings was recognized after implementation of faith-based programs.
Faith-Based Addiction Programs (according to other studies) have a success rate of 40%-60%. This is significantly higher than the success rate of programs that do not incorporate faith into their curriculum.
Often, the Faith-Community is ignored when discussing addiction recovery, treatment, or even prevention. When taking a closer look, you will find this group immersed in the local community and carrying the burden of this problem. The Faith community can assist those who do not have healthcare, and many times offer a less expensive, and apparently more effective, option. The programs within this community are typically staffed with caring people who have a personal mission to help the addicted. The economic impact is far-reaching. And unfortunately, there are simply not enough studies done on faith-based programs.
This is what we know. The 40-60% of people who are able to break free from addictions through Faith-Based Programs are no longer a burden to the taxpayer. They no longer occupy a bed in jail. They are no longer a drain on the healthcare system with addiction-related medical emergencies. This percentage of individuals are working jobs, providing for their families, and they bring a contribution to the functionality of our society. I am personally, one single person, fortunate enough, to be counted in that 40-60% rate listed above. Therefore, I am not just referring to THEM. As a result, I have now dedicated myself, and my life, to a career in Faith-Based Addiction Recovery.
Faith-Based Programs provide the infrastructure needed to combat the addiction epidemic that has been sweeping this nation. This is an URGENT matter. Local, state, and federal government along with community leaders need to consider the Faith Community and Faith-Based Recovery as a runner in the race to a solution.
Brad Woodbury | CFO, RU Recovery Ministries