The many millions of Americans that desperately need help with their drug and alcohol problems require us all to take a closer look at the steps we need to take to improve the recovery rate. By helping addicts get the help they need, we better our families, our communities and ultimately our country. At the family level, the employer level, and at the governmental level, steps need to be taken to decrease the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that currently 2.7% of the population meet the criteria for drug dependence or abuse and need treatment, but are not receiving it; and the proportion for alcohol abuse is 7.4% of the population that need it, but are not receiving any treatment. Truly astronomical numbers; why are so many people recognized as in need of treatment not getting the help they need?
The answers are many, and like anything with addiction, noting is simple. A great many of these people will have been offered treatment, but have refused it, many of these people will be in denial of their problems, and not feel they need treatment, and some of these may want treatment, but for whatever reason, be unable to get it. Any way you look at it though, it’s unacceptable; and we all need to work harder to get these sick people the treatment that they so desperately need.
In the Family
We as a society pay a high price for allowing this rate of abuse to continue unabated, and the toll on the millions of families and tens of millions of addicts is truly heartbreaking. Families need to take action If you have a friend or family member needing treatment, there is no acceptable reason for not at the very least trying to get them the help that they need. They may not accept your offer of assistance, but you need to at least try. We all at the family level need to take better care of each other, and this can start with a bit of tough love.
Information on how to persuade a loved one to accept treatment is all over the internet, and you can also seek the advice of a professional addictions specialist for tailored recommendations. Interventions are very effective, and there are professional interventions specialists who can help you through the emotionally difficult process.
On the Job
Employers need to take action! Employers also need to take more responsibility for the health and well being of those that work for them, and especially with men, the threat of losing a job can be uniquely motivating – and employers can often persuade an addict to accept treatment when no one else can.
Employers should increase the level of assistance both out of concern and compassion for the individual, and as well to increases the productivity and performance of a valued worker. Getting an employee sober is truly a win win situation.
Our Tax Dollars
Government needs to take action Govt. also needs to take greater responsibility for the situation. Greater funding needs to be provided for access to treatment, and I believe that simply by diverting a fraction of the drug incarceration budget to available treatment facilities, a great deal of suffering could be alleviated.
Additionally, legislation should be enacted requiring insurance providers to offer greater treatments to those suffering through addictions. Addiction is a disease, and is classified as such by all doctor’s organizations, but for some reason insurance providers seem to be able to shirk their responsibility when providing treatment for this disease. With almost 10% of the population needing substance abuse treatment but not receiving it, I believe we need to think seriously about the steps we can all take to improve our situation. By helping addicts one person at a time, we will make our communities, our families and our country a much better place.