Can the Treatment Services Review be used to estimate the costs of addiction and ancillary services?

Michael T. French, M. Christopher Roebuck, A. Thomas McLellan, Jody L. Sindelar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: The economic costs of addiction treatment and ancillary services are of great interest to substance abuse treatment providers, researchers, and policymakers. This paper examines whether a widely used treatment evaluation instrument, the Treatment Services Review (TSR), can be used to estimate the costs of addiction and ancillary services. Methods: The fifth edition of the TSR (TSR-5) is carefully reviewed and critiqued for cost estimation purposes. Unit cost estimates and sources are presented for most of the service delivery units on the TSR-5, and important missing service measures are identified. A cost analysis method is proposed that is based on data from the TSR. Results: A variety of unit cost estimates are offered so that researchers and practitioners will understand how this financial information is compiled. However, the investigation determined that the TSR-5 is not currently structured for a comprehensive cost analysis of treatment services. The potential benefits and limitations of the TSR-5 as a cost analysis tool are identified and explained. In addition, recommended changes to the TSR-5 are suggested and described. Implications: Although not originally developed for economic evaluation purposes, with some modifications and enhancements, the TSR is an instrument that is capable of facilitating an economic cost analysis of addiction treatment and ancillary services. By combining service utilization information from a revised TSR (i.e., TSR-6) with reliable unit cost estimates for those services, future evaluation studies will be able to provide more standardized estimates of the costs of addiction and ancillary services for different types of treatment clients. When joined with outcome data, the TSR-6, along with the proposed cost module, can also be used to determine cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost ratios for subgroups of patients and treatment components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-361
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Addiction
  • Cost
  • Service
  • TSR
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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