Ninety percent of people who need substance use treatment do not receive it. That is a fact that translates to more than 40,000 deaths a year in the US. There are many reasons for the lack of treatment for millions of people. Stigma of the disease does prevent families from seeking help. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is the only disease that tells people they don’t have a disease. There is also tremendous denial among family members who want to protect their family members and are fearful about what will happen to them if the drug use is revealed. And they delay.

But even more damaging than stigma and fear is the myth that only rehab in a pleasant facility far away from home translates to successful recovery. This is both untrue and damaging because most people can’t afford rehab in a facility. Moreover, there aren’t enough beds to accommodate  everyone who needs treatment.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Addiction November 2016 shows that there are many paths to recovery, and every person who seeks help is different.

The rehab myth also a damaging because people don’t know what other kinds of treatment are available to them. There is a lack of public education about what kinds of treatment do work. But even when people are aware that other kinds of treatment may help them, they don’t know how to access the treatment providers who offer the help they need. Alternate treatments (to rehabs) are not advertised on the Internet the way the well-financed referral sites for rehabs can.

Substance abuse costs our Nation over $600 billion annually and treatment can help reduce these costs.

Drug addiction treatment has been shown to reduce associated  health and social costs by far more than the cost of the treatment itself. Treatment is also much less expensive than its alternatives, such as incarcerating addicted persons. For example, the average cost for 1 full year of methadone maintenance treatment is approximately $4,700 per patient, whereas 1 full year of imprisonment costs approximately $24,000 per person.

Drug addiction treatment reduces drug use and its associated health and social costs

According to several conservative estimates, every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 and $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft. When savings related to healthcare are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12 to 1. Major savings to the individual and to society also stem from fewer interpersonal conflicts; greater workplace productivity; and fewer drug-related accidents, including overdoses and deaths. National Institute of Drug Abuse

Armed with the information that treatment is worth the cost, funding for public information to access quality alternative treatment providers is desperately needed.

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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. Leslie is also the creator of Recovery Guidance, the information website for those seeking addiction and mental healthcare for professionals nationwide. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation.

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