The cost to communities for not addressing addiction has never been fully quantified.  A single addict or alcoholic  has the potential to destroy families, communities and lives.   Read,  “Just One Addict!, Breaking the Back of a Los Angeles Budget”, to understand the magnitude of impact.  Also check out the article, “The Prison System Falls Short in Treating Drug Addiction” for a look at why it may be better to treat addicts while we have them in our hands.