Millions of people know what it’s like to lose everything to addiction. Millions more know what it’s like to live with a parent or family member who abuses drugs or alcohol. What too many don’t know is how to get better.
In spite of a large body of research showing that addiction is a chronic disease, only one in 10 addicts receives any form of treatment – often, treatment that falls woefully short of what we know works, according to a five-year study by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.
The Desperate State of Addiction Treatment
Rather than helping, most forms of addiction treatment are hindering recovery and costing the public in the process. The CASA report identified the following specific problem areas:
• Stigma – One-third of Americans still regard addiction as a moral failing or a lack of willpower rather than a treatable disease. Addiction affects more Americans than other chronic health conditions, yet the disease is shunned by the medical community, CASA reports. Spending to treat addiction ($28 billion to treat 40 million people) falls far behind other conditions, such as diabetes ($44 billion to treat 26 million people), cancer ($87 billion to treat 19 million people) and heart conditions ($107 billion to treat 27 million people).