Benefits and costs associated with mutual-help community-based recovery homes: The Oxford House model

Eval Program Plann. 2012 Feb;35(1):47-53. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2011.06.006. Epub 2011 Jul 22.


We used data from a randomized controlled study of Oxford House (OH), a self-run, self-supporting recovery home, to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the program. Following substance abuse treatment, individuals that were assigned to an OH condition (n=68) were compared to individuals assigned to a usual care condition (n=61). Economic cost measures were derived from length of stay at an Oxford House residence, and derived from self-reported measures of inpatient and outpatient treatment utilization. Economic benefit measures were derived from self-reported information on monthly income, days participating in illegal activities, binary responses of alcohol and drug use, and incarceration. Results suggest that OH compared quite favorably to usual care: the net benefit of an OH stay was estimated to be roughly $29,000 per person on average. Bootstrapped standard errors suggested that the net benefit was statistically significant. Costs were incrementally higher under OH, but the benefits in terms of reduced illegal activity, incarceration and substance use substantially outweighed the costs. The positive net benefit for Oxford House is primarily driven by a large difference in illegal activity between OH and usual care participants. Using sensitivity analyses, under more conservative assumptions we still arrived at a net benefit favorable to OH of $17,830 per person.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Continuity of Patient Care / economics*
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration
  • Cost Savings*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Group Homes / economics*
  • Group Homes / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Social Environment
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers / economics
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers / organization & administration
  • Substance-Related Disorders / economics*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult