Facing Addiction in America, reveals important findings on the neurobiology of substance abuse; prevention programs and policies; early intervention, treatment and management; different paths to recovery; and health systems for substance abuse disorders.

Not only does the report state that addiction is not a moral failing but a brain disease, it also sheds light on the segregation of addiction treatment in healthcare, which has been largely ignored due to the stigmas about addiction. Murthy also details key findings that many in the addiction treatment field have known for years, yet still may come by surprise to the general public and addiction treatment professionals.

Addiction in Context

The Surgeon General’s report is a timely one given President Barack Obama’s rush to approve $1.1 billion in aid to address the opioid epidemic. We know addiction has long been a problem in America, but as prevalence and death tolls rise, our society can no longer afford to ignore it as a public health crisis.

Currently, a reported 27 million people in the United States use illicit drugs and prescription drugs, while 66 million people or a quarter of the U.S. population admitted to binge drinking in the past month. The numbers are more than likely higher given those who are either misusing or are unaware they have an addiction and never receive help.

Americans with addiction is almost on par with those who have other chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes. In fact, the prevalence of addiction has surpassed those who have all types of cancer in America, which is an estimated 20.3 million people. This implies that it is time addiction treatment gets the same attention as other medical conditions in the healthcare industry.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

There is also some discomforting data from the surgeon general’s report regarding substance abuse treatment. Here are some key finding from the executive summary report:

  • Only 10 percent of people with a substance abuse disorder receive treatment
  • 40 percent of people with substance abuse also have a co-occurring mental health disorder
  • Only 48 percent of those with a co-occurring addiction and mental illness ever receive treatment for either condition
  • 40 percent of Americans with a substance abuse problem are not ready to quit or don’t recognize they have a problem

This data shows that millions of Americans are not receiving the proper treatment for their drug and alcohol use or are even aware that they have an addiction. This could also be due to lack of affordability and health screenings.

Economic Costs of Addiction

There’s no doubt that the social impact and the costs of addiction continues to skyrocket, not only for family members of addicted loved ones but on a much larger scale as a society. When we consider the rise in crime and violence from drug and alcohol abuse, overcrowded prisons, the cost of social services from child abuse and neglect, and the costs of healthcare from the short-term and long-term effects of substance abuse, addiction is a costly battle. The report estimates the economic impact is $249 billion for alcohol use and about $193 billion for drug use.

Addressing Remission and Recovery

It’s a common myth that those with substance abuse problems can recover from substance abuse in 30 days to 3 months, but it certainly takes much longer to stabilize in remission. The report finally recognizes that remission from substance abuse takes at least one year or longer.

In fact, stable remission often takes several years through managed care, treatment, and ongoing support. According to the data, currently 25 million people are in stable remission and the individual’s path to wellness in recovery varies; however, the data does bring hope to those currently struggling with addiction and who are in early recovery.

How We Help People Face Addiction

At Transformations, our dedicated and compassionate team of medical doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, therapists, admissions and alumni coordinators all work overtime to help our clients face addiction every day and win the battle in recovery.

As evidenced in the surgeon general’s report on addiction treatment, there are many paths to wellness in recovery. Our individualized treatment programs are designed to help each client thrive in addiction recovery, not just survive. We help our clients transform from detox to inpatient treatment, engage in outpatient services, and we assist with transitional living well after our clients stop receiving treatment.

Transformations Treatment Center is a recognized drug and rehabilitation center dedicated to helping thousands of clients maintain long-term sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, call our confidential helpline today at 800-270-4315.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): Response and Updates for Clients, Families, and Referents Read More