Peer reviewed article. The damage inflicted on our society by mental health and substance use issues is reaching epidemic proportions with few signs of abating. One new and innovative strategy for addressing these comorbid issues has been the development of outdoor behavioral healthcare (OBH). This study compared the effectiveness of three post-acute adolescent substance use situations: OBH, treatment as usual (TAU), and no structured treatment (NST). The simulated target population was 13-17 years old with comorbid substance use and mental health issues. When costs were adjusted for actual completion rates of 94% in OBH, 37% in TAU, and $0 for NST, the actual treatment costs per person were $27 426 for OBH and $31 113 for TAU. OBH also had a cost–benefit ratio of 60.4% higher than TAU, an increased Quality in Life Years (QALY) life span, societal benefits of an additional $36 100, and 424% better treatment outcomes as measured by the Youth Outcome Questionnaire (YOQ) research instrument.

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