There is an increasing emphasis on cost-effectiveness for all forms of treatment, occurring in parallel with constraints on research dollars. It would therefore seem useful for investigators to try to use ongoing research data as a basis for demonstrating a positive economic impact when outcome data are available. Some thoughts and figures are presented from a large alcoholism project, for which there were also some treatment outcomes. These data permitted dollar estimates, in terms of community impact, which are offered as a basis for further discussion. Although crude, these types of estimates are seen as vital in making the economic arguments, which parallel those for the human misery side of substance abuse. "Cost/benefit ratio" has become a term heard often these days in reference to hospital clinical programs. No longer is it only important to have a successful program in terms of favorable clinical outcomes; now the question heard is "at what cost?" The formulas used in calculating the cost/benefit ratio in terms of clinical programs are at this time not readily available. We are still trying to decide what variables relate to actual total cost and what value to place upon "intangible" benefits. This paper illustrates, in a crude fashion, one type of cost/ benefit comparison, but it is by no means complete. Those "intangible" factors and all actual dollars saved by treatment as yet cannot be included in the calculations. © 1987 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved: reproduction in whole or part not permitted.