The Washington State Institute for Public Policy was directed by the 2005 Washington Legislature to estimate whether “evidence-based” treatment for people with alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders offers economic advantages. Do benefits outweigh costs? And, if so, what is the magnitude of the potential fiscal savings to government, as well as the total net benefits to all of Washington?
To answer these questions, we systematically reviewed the “what works” literature regarding treatments for people with alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders. We then estimated the monetary value of the benefits, including factors such as improved performance in the job market, reduced health care and other costs, and reduced crime-related costs.