Financial Consequences of Addictions

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Millions of people looking to get a nicotine or alcohol fix are handing over the dough. Some users don't even realize how much the addictions are costing them.

Barbara Kavanagh is the director at the Addiction Recovery Center and said, "They don't know how much it's costing them. They have to be told to sit and figure it out, and then it's shocking."

Joe Putnal kicked the smoking habit. He smoked four packs a day, spending thousands of dollars each year on cigarettes.

"It's an addiction. You’re actually going to want it regardless of what it costs. You'll find a way to get the money to buy cigarettes."

The money spent on cigarettes and alcohol pinches not only the wallet, but the emotions of loved ones as well.

Kavanagh said, "A lot of times when the addict or alcoholic is active in their disease they really don't care about the children, so the children suffer financially because the money's not there to take care of them."

And many of those children end up in foster care, costing society a pretty penny.

Mark Fontaine is the executive director of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association.

"We found that 52 percent of the parents have a drug or alcohol problem, which can often be contributed to those children being removed from the home, so the society picks up the care of the child and the parents loose their children which are two significant costs."

Experts say the next time you hand over cash for a bottle of booze or pack of cigarettes you might want to first consider the long-term financial consequences. The Centers for Disease Control says Americans spend about $80 billion on cigarettes, and around $90 billion on alcohol every year.