Untreated Addiction Epidemic

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Building on a SAMHSA’s earlier report, The National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data, the director of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative reports that untreated addiction has reached pandemic levels in the United States.

Although the SAMHSA survey found that both prescription drug and methamphetamine abuse declined in the US in 2008, the overall rate of drug and alcohol abuse remained steady. Declines in some drugs were offset by an increase in popularity of other drugs–marijuana and hallucinogens in particular.

According to the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap initiative, however, as recently published on Wellness.com, only 1 in 10 of the 23 million alcohol and drug addicts in the United States enter into an addiction treatment centre. This sad discrepancy is due most commonly to the inability to pay for treatment.

Access to affordable addiction treatment options, whether through the federal public health insurance plan or by some other means, is a necessary step in addressing this public health issue. Clearly, a punitive-stance on drug abuse and addiction does not result in recovery. In fact, overall, it breeds further substance abuse and cyclical incarceration. In this time of the healthcare reform debate, addiction treatment, which has been grossly overlooked, must be addressed. Now is a chance for substantial change.

“Ignoring any disease — be it addiction, diabetes or hypertension — is bad medicine and should not be an option in today’s healthcare system. Addiction treatment should be fully covered by all insurance plans,” says Victor Capoccia, director of the initiative.

The initiative actively advocates for addiction treatment programs to be covered by health insurance coverage, be it private or public.

Source: wellness.com

Untreated Addiction Epidemic