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

Michael T. French, M. Christopher Roebuck, Michael L. Dennis, Susan H. Godley, Howard A. Liddle, Frank M. Tims

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-459
Number of pages39
JournalEvaluation Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Addiction treatment
  • Adolescent cannabis use
  • Benefit-cost analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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