Benefit--cost methodology in the evaluation of therapeutic services for alcoholism

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1979 Oct;3(4):324-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1979.tb05331.x.


Benefit--cost analysis as a form of "social profitability analysis" can be a powerful tool in the overall evaluation of alcoholism treatment efforts. Alcoholism treatment potentially leads to a multiplicity of benefits in addition to sobriety. Benefit--cost analysis provides a methodology for converting many of these diverse benefits into a common metric (dollars), thereby allowing the comparison of aggregate benefits and treatment costs. The analysis thus leads to the expression of treatment outcome in terms of the return on investment. A benefit--cost analysis conducted on 3034 clients from the Oklahoma data base indicated a return to society of $1.98 for every $1 invested in alcoholism treatment. Such data may represent a critical portion of the information required for responsible resource allocation decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / economics
  • Alcoholism / therapy*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • Health Facilities / economics
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • United States