Total spending on the treatment of substance use disorder reached $34 billion in 2014, with outpatient care taking the largest share, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
That $34 billion represents an increase of 273% from the $9.1 billion spent in 1986 and a considerable shift in the distribution of spending over the last 30 years. In 1986, the largest share of spending – 50%, or $4.6 billion – for substance use disorder went toward inpatient care and only $2.4 billion (27%) was used for outpatient care. In 2014, outpatient treatment of substance use disorder had a 40% share ($13.6 billion) of all spending, and inpatient care was down to 19% ($6.4 billion), the NCHS reported in “Health, United States, 2016.”
Since methadone is not considered a retail drug by SAMHSA, it is classified under specialty substance use disorder treatment centers, which are included in the estimate for outpatient care, the NCHS noted.