MaineCare at Core of Pain-Pill Epidemic – Prescription Drug Abuse and Related Health Care Costs are a Drain, But Funding for Treatment Also Saves Money

Treatment is the only way out of the spiral of opiate addiction, doctors say. But it isn’t cheap.

MaineCare payments for all substance abuse treatment totaled more than $100 million in the fiscal year that ended last June, according to figures provided by DHHS. Prescription pain relievers account for about one-third of the admissions for substance abuse treatment in Maine, second only to alcohol, according to the Office of Substance Abuse.

The biggest cost to MaineCare, however, is health care services related to abuse and addiction, from emergency department visits for withdrawal and overdoses, to treatments for hepatitis C and collapsed veins to the care provided to pregnant addicts and their babies.

Source: Portland Press Herald – October 16, 2011