Sadly, access to drug rehab treatment remains low in the United States. And we are paying for it. Here are some statistics on addiction and drug rehab that should shock anyone who cares about the health of our society.
SAMHSA looked at people ages 12 and over and estimated that over 23 million people need treatment for alcohol abuse or drug addiction. Sadly, they also reported that maybe 10 percent of those people who really need treatment actually get treatment in a facility specializing in addiction treatment.
There were almost 2 million people treated in treatment facilities in 2008 (most recent study year), and over 40 percent of those people specifically sought treatment for alcohol abuse.
Here are some other drug rehab statistics:
- 23 percent of people admitted to treatment had a problem with alcohol only
- 18 percent of people admitted to treatment had a problem with alcohol and another drug
- 17 percent of people admitted to treatment had a problem with marijuana
- 14 percent of people admitted to treatment had a problem with heroin
- 5.9 percent of people admitted to treatment had a problem with an opiate other than heroin
In terms of race and ethnicity, about 60 percent of people admitted to treatment were white, 20 percent were black, and 14 percent were Hispanic. The other six percent were made up of American Indian, Asian or Pacific Islander, Alaska Native.
The most common age at admissions was between 25 and 29 years of age, which the 20-24 age group close behind (both around 14 percent of admissions). Once people hit the age of 60 the number of admissions drops off dramatically.
Sadly, access to drug rehab treatment is still very limited. Some hope mental health benefit parity will help, but some insurance companies will simply stop providing mental health benefits completely.
The cost of untreated addiction have been reported to be as high as $484 billion a year. Alcohol abuse alone is estimated to cost American society $185 billion a year. If you look at comparative data, cancer costs society 171.6 billion annual. Addiction is taking a financial toll that is far greater than that of cancer.
Many of our country’s social problems, from domestic violence to drunk driving or drugged driving, are directly related to poor access to treatment. In some states, they are now demanding welfare recipients get drug tested, yet none of these states has a comprehensive strategy for treating the disease of addiction. The poor have the least access to treatment, and state policies seem to be aimed at making their lives even more miserable.
The states and cities with the highest mortality rates due to drug-related deaths and suicide are sadly the states with the highest rates of poverty, and hence, very little access to specialized treatment.