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The cost and consequences of alcoholism and drug dependence place an enormous burden on American society. As the nation’s number one health problem, addiction strains the health care system, the economy, harms family life and threatens public safety.
Substance abuse crosses all societal boundaries, affects both genders, every ethnic group, and people in every tax bracket. Scientific documentation defines alcoholism and drug dependence as a disease that has roots in both genetic susceptibility and personal behavior.
Like other health problem, addiction can be overcome with proper treatment, prevention and more research. By increasing access to care, the costly toll on society and the burden it places on families can be reduced. Research shows conclusively that successful prevention and treatment leads to reductions in traffic fatalities, crime, unwanted pregnancy, child abuse, HIV, cancer and heart disease. Treatment reduces drug use, improves health, improves job performance, reduces involvement with the criminal justice system, reduces family dysfunction and improves quality of life.
The Comprehensive Assessment Treatment Outcomes Registry Data in Ohio have documented dramatic results in decreasing occupational problems, including the following reductions after treatment:
Additionally, a California Study found significant decreased health care costs from before to after treatment in:
Americans increasingly recognize that alcoholism and drug dependence is a disease with consequences that affect both physical and behavioral health. Diagnostic and treatment services have changed in recent years and modern treatment, when adequately provided, enables a great many people to recover and rebuild productive lives.
It is important that the public be aware of evidence generated by scientific inquiry, clinical evaluation and clinical experience. The evidence demonstrates that treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse works. Treatment not only saves lives, it also saves dollars that would otherwise be spent in other areas of medical care and social services. For every dollar spent on addiction treatment, seven dollars is saved in reduced health care costs.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is dedicated to fighting the stigma and the disease of alcoholism and other drug addictions by providing education, information, help and hope to the public. NCADD advocates prevention, intervention, and treatment through a network of 97 affiliates across the United States. For more information, visit: www.ncadd.org.
Alcoholism and drug dependence are treatable and millions of people achieve recovery.
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