Effective violence interventions are not widely implemented, and there is little information about the cost of violence interventions. Our goal is to report the cost of a brief intervention delivered in the emergency department that reduces violence among 14- to 18-year-olds.
Primary outcomes were total costs of implementation and the cost per violent event or violence consequence averted. We used primary and secondary data sources to derive the costs to implement a brief motivational interviewing intervention and to identify the number of self-reported violent events (eg, severe peer aggression, peer victimization) or violence consequences averted. One-way and multi-way sensitivity analyses were performed.
Total fixed and variable annual costs were estimated at $71 784. If implemented, 4208 violent events or consequences could be prevented, costing $17.06 per event or consequence averted. Multi-way sensitivity analysis accounting for variable intervention efficacy and different cost estimates resulted in a range of $3.63 to $54.96 per event or consequence averted.
Our estimates show that the cost to prevent an episode of youth violence or its consequences is less than the cost of placing an intravenous line and should not present a significant barrier to implementation.