|Crowley, D., Jones, D. E., Coffman, D. L., Greenberg, M.T. (2014). Can We Build an Efficient Response to the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic? Assessing the Cost Effectiveness of Universal Prevention in the PROSPER Trial. Preventive Medicine.
Prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions. Nonmedical prescription opioid use carries increasingly high costs. Despite the need to cultivate efforts that are both effective and fiscally responsible, the cost-effectiveness of universal evidence-based-preventive-interventions (EBPIs) is rarely evaluated. This study explores the performance of these programs to reduce nonmedical prescription opioid use.
Crowley and his co-authors found that only one school-based program was effective when used by itself. The Botvin LifeSkills Training program resulted in 4 percent lower drug abuse rates, compared with a control group. The 18-session course teaches social skills that build competence and encourage assertiveness. LifeSkills Training was also among the most cost-effective programs studied, costing an average of $15 per child. By contrast, the study notes that prescription drug abusers cost society an average of $7,500 each for treatment and other expenses, by conservative estimates.