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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Obstacles of Getting Treatment

Recovery from addiction is extremely challenging, but it is possible. While it may seem that substance use disorder treatment is available to everyone, many who seek treatment often face obstacles, USA Today reports.

With the rapid rise in opioid overdose deaths throughout the country, experts are calling for increased access to treatment. In 2013, 44,000 people lost their lives to opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Currently, many addicts seeking treatment find long waiting lists and a number of treatment centers are unaffordable. Despite the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Affordable Care Act, many insurers are unwilling to cover the costs of treatment. What’s more, insurance companies often limit the number of doses of buprenorphine that patients can receive, according to the article.

There 22.7 million Americans who were in need of drug or alcohol treatment in 2013, but only 11 percent actually received treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). At least 316,000 who needed treatment that year tried and failed to get it.

"We know addiction treatment saves lives, reduces drug use, reduces criminal activity and improves employment," says Paul Samuels, president and director of the Legal Action Center, which advocates on behalf of people with HIV or addiction. "The data is there, the evidence is in, but our public policy has not caught up with the science."

Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said that enough opioid prescriptions (259 million) were written in 2011 to give a bottle of pills to every adult in the USA. More than 2 million Americans abuse prescription opiates and about 669,000 use heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Recovering addict Mike McCrorken speaks about his experience getting treatment:

 

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