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Eval Rev. 2003 Aug;27(4):421-59.

Outpatient marijuana treatment for adolescents. Economic evaluation of a multisite field experiment.

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University of Miami,


An economic evaluation of five outpatient adolescent treatment approaches (12 total site-by-conditions) was conducted. The economic cost of each of the 12 site-specific treatment conditions was determined by the Drug Abuse Treatment Cost Analysis Program (DATCAP). Economic benefits of treatment were estimated by first monetizing a series of treatment outcomes and then analyzing the magnitude of these monetized outcomes from baseline through the 12-month follow-up. The average economic costs ranged from $90 to $313 per week and from $839 to $3,279 per episode. Relative to the quarter before intake, the average quarterly cost to society for the next 12 months (including treatment costs) significantly declined in 4 of the 12 site-by-treatment conditions, remained unchanged in 6 conditions, and increased in 2 treatment conditions (both in the same site). These results suggest that some types of substance-abuse intervention for adolescents can reduce social costs immediately after treatment.

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