The financial cost of drug abuse
Substance abuse is emotionally devastating for loved ones, and the the financial cost can also be extreme.
According to statistics from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs over $400 billion annually in expenses related to lost work productivity, health care and crime.
"When an individual is looking for their fix, when they're looking to get access to drugs, obviously they need to be able to get as much money as possible. Unfortunately, they will do things like steal and other types of things that normally they wouldn't do," said Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. "It's a tremendous toll on the family."
Those addicted to drugs, according to Valente, are often in a very dark place and will do things that they would never do under normal circumstances.
"Drugs really changes the person's mind and it manipulates what they would do and would not do under normal circumstances," Valente said.
Those close to the drug addict are often the hardest hit financially. Besides money, drug addicts might also steal household possessions and other valuables to pay for their drugs.
For people who think they might be living with someone addicted to drugs, missing items or money could be a sign that a loved one is dealing with a drug addiction, according to Valente.
"If you see things missing in your home, valuable things, jewelry - if there's money missing out of your wallet on a regular basis and there's no explanation for it," Valente said.
Another huge expense to families is the cost of rehab, which Valente said can be tens of thousands of dollars, costs that are often not a one-time occurrence.
"There are many times when relapses occur, and there is a need for continued treatment. I know of families who have mortgaged their homes in order to be able to provide treatment for their children," Valente said.
The bottom line though is to get the person help so that the cycle of addiction can be broken.
"The most important thing to do is to get help - that's the only way they're going to be able to turn their lives around," Valente said. "Families throughout New Jersey are beginning to recognize that substance abuse is a problem that affects every community, and it's a problem that really has no boundaries."