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.