Drug addicts who check into New York hospital detox units dozens of times per year cost the state more than $300 million annually. These frequent fliers are often homeless or mentally ill people who see detox as a source of food and housing. People use it instead of the shelter system, said Sam Tsemberis of the nonprofit Pathways to Housing.
Federal officials say the Empire State spends more on drug treatment than any other state because its hospitals encourage inpatient treatments that bring in the most profit. There is also no transition to outpatient treatment after discharge, so many addicts never recover. Experts say the true root of the problem is lack of housing for the homeless.