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Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Benefit-Cost Results

Since the 1990s, the Washington State legislature has directed WSIPP to identify “evidence-based” policies. The goal is to provide Washington policymakers and budget writers with a list of well-researched public policies that can, with a high degree of certainty, lead to better statewide outcomes coupled with a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Research Approach. WSIPP has developed a three-step process to draw conclusions about what works and what does not to achieve particular outcomes of legislative interest. First, we systematically assess all high-quality studies from the United States and elsewhere to identify policy options that have been tested and found to achieve improvements in outcomes. Second, we determine how much it would cost Washington taxpayers to produce the results found in Step 1, and calculate how much it would be worth to people in Washington State to achieve the improved outcome. That is, in dollars and cents terms, we compare the benefits and costs of each policy option. It is important to note that the benefit-cost estimates pertain specifically to Washington State; results will vary from state to state. Third, we assess the risk in the estimates to determine the odds that a particular policy option will at least break even. ...show more

WSIPP acknowledges the MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts that have helped fund some of the research reported on this page.

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For details on our benefit-cost methods, contact Michael Hirsch or download our technical documentation.

Latest Results. The tables on this webpage present our current findings for a variety of public policy topics. Items on these tables are updated periodically as new information becomes available. Interested readers can find more information by clicking each entry in the tables.

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Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2018

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Current estimates replace old estimates. Numbers will change over time as a result of model inputs and monetization methods.

Substance Use Disorders

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For questions on benefit-cost results relating to Substance Use Disorders, contact Marna Miller.
Early Intervention
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Sep. 2016 $2,852 $909 $1,943 ($278) $2,574 $10.25 75 %
Sep. 2016 $2,411 $769 $1,642 ($164) $2,248 $14.75 70 %
Sep. 2016 $2,473 $823 $1,651 ($442) $2,031 $5.59 59 %
May. 2014 $746 $239 $507 ($74) $671 $10.02 66 %
Jun. 2016 $432 $149 $282 ($392) $40 $1.10 49 %
Feb. 2015 $252 $99 $153 ($338) ($86) $0.75 41 %
Jun. 2016 ($265) ($80) ($185) ($4) ($268) ($66.41) 48 %
Treatment for Youth
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Sep. 2018 ($92) ($11) ($81) ($111) ($203) ($0.83) 48 %
Sep. 2018 ($817) $32 ($850) ($2,023) ($2,841) ($0.40) 37 %
Jun. 2016 ($884) $116 ($1,000) ($3,529) ($4,413) ($0.25) 35 %
May. 2015 $2,360 $1,735 $624 ($8,198) ($5,838) $0.29 25 %
Treatment for Adults
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
May. 2014 $20,570 $1,755 $18,815 ($581) $19,989 $35.41 77 %
May. 2014 $18,159 $5,763 $12,397 ($403) $17,756 $45.08 70 %
May. 2014 $9,308 $3,003 $6,305 ($580) $8,728 $16.05 78 %
May. 2014 $8,321 $1,537 $6,784 $327 $8,648 n/a 60 %
May. 2014 $8,355 $2,702 $5,652 ($567) $7,788 $14.74 91 %
May. 2014 $7,799 $1,449 $6,349 ($214) $7,585 $36.44 60 %
May. 2014 $8,402 $3,848 $4,554 ($2,073) $6,329 $4.05 58 %
Sep. 2016 $6,025 $1,101 $4,924 ($270) $5,755 $22.31 56 %
Dec. 2014 $5,975 $1,443 $4,532 ($271) $5,704 $22.07 56 %
May. 2014 $5,538 $1,096 $4,442 $0 $5,538 n/a 56 %
May. 2014 $6,401 $1,311 $5,090 ($1,225) $5,176 $5.22 57 %
Dec. 2016 $4,495 $496 $3,998 ($362) $4,133 $12.42 58 %
May. 2014 $4,045 $499 $3,545 ($826) $3,218 $4.90 55 %
May. 2014 $5,014 $333 $4,681 ($2,418) $2,596 $2.07 54 %
May. 2014 $2,583 $318 $2,266 ($254) $2,329 $10.15 58 %
May. 2014 $1,776 $193 $1,583 $0 $1,776 n/a 53 %
May. 2014 $2,702 $421 $2,281 ($1,301) $1,402 $2.08 52 %
Oct. 2016 $1,427 $186 $1,241 ($292) $1,135 $4.89 52 %
May. 2014 $331 $143 $188 ($255) $76 $1.30 50 %
May. 2014 $2,013 $395 $1,618 ($2,866) ($853) $0.70 48 %
Dec. 2016 ($442) $9 ($451) ($547) ($989) ($0.81) 49 %
May. 2014 $1,918 $515 $1,403 ($5,503) ($3,585) $0.35 44 %
May. 2014 ($12,535) ($3,334) ($9,200) ($160) ($12,695) ($78.10) 24 %
Medication-assisted Treatment
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Dec. 2016 $8,725 $1,151 $7,575 ($3,827) $4,899 $2.28 89 %
Dec. 2016 $8,467 $1,169 $7,299 ($4,689) $3,778 $1.81 88 %
Dec. 2016 ($52) $1,381 ($1,433) ($16,830) ($16,881) $0.00 0 %
Dec. 2016 ($786) $820 ($1,606) ($16,826) ($17,613) ($0.05) 0 %
Dec. 2016 ($7,441) $268 ($7,709) ($16,816) ($24,257) ($0.44) 0 %
To view details of all Substance Use Disorders programs in a single pdf, click here.

Other Substance Use Disorders topics reviewed:

Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review Notes
Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) UPDATED
Sep. 2018 Click for meta-analytic results
Buprehorphine implants
Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) for engaging clients in treatment
Sep. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for co-morbid substance use disorder and serious mental illness
May. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Early initiation of buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder (compared to referral to treatment only)
Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Early initiation of methadone treatment for opioid use disorder (compared to referral to treatment only)
Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Family Behavior Therapy (FBT)
May. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Injectable bromocriptine for alcohol
Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
MET/CBT-5 for youth marijuana use
Feb. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) (problem drinkers)
May. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Naltrexone implants
Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Parent-Child Assistance Program
Aug. 2017 Click for meta-analytic results
Wraparound services for pregnant/postpartum women in treatment for substance use disorders
Sep. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Anger management for substance abuse and mental health clients: Cognitive-behavioral therapy
May. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Buprenorphine taper for prescription opioid use disorder
Dec. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Dialectical behavior therapy for substance abuse: Integrated treatment model
May. 2015 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Matrix Model treatment for adolescents with substance use disorder
Jun. 2013 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Medication-assisted therapies for opioid use during pregnancy—buprenorphine vs. methadone
Dec. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Preventing Addiction-Related Suicide (PARS)
May. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Recovery Support Services
Jun. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Seven Challenges
Jan. 2013 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Therapeutic community for non-offenders
May. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Behavioral Couples Therapy (marital)
May. 2014 Too few rigorous evaluations to date.
Click to expand