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America's Silent Crisis: Addiction -- Downturn Fuels Rising Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Phoenix House Study Reveals
Date:6/23/2009

NEW YORK, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- "Addiction is on the upswing, fueled by pressures from our economic downturn," says Howard Meitiner, President and CEO of Phoenix House, the nation's largest non-profit alcohol and drug abuse treatment and prevention facility. "Eighty-eight percent of the population feels that drug abuse is at either serious or crisis levels today, reflecting the devastating impact that addiction is having on individuals, families, and communities."

Says Mr. Meitiner: "When people lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their savings, lose their pensions, they can often lose their self-respect, as well. And they can often escape into substance abuse and addiction. At Phoenix House, we have been seeing strong signs of an increase in addiction among those who have been hurt in the financial crisis. This is fueling a secondary crisis in many American homes - the crisis of addiction."

To gauge public perception and awareness of addiction levels since the economy's sharp turn last fall, Phoenix House commissioned market research firm Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates to conduct a study that analyzed public attitudes toward various aspects of substance abuse. The study, which gathered data from more than 400 respondents, reveals the vast number of people affected by addiction:

  • 34% have friends or family members who are currently struggling with a substance abuse problem.
  • 40% stated that drugs have been the cause of troubles in their family at some point during their lifetime.

"These numbers demonstrate that addiction is indeed at a crisis level," says Mr. Meitiner, "but the majority of people surveyed admitted that they know only a little or nothing at all about substance abuse treatment. We know that truly only 1 in 10 individuals with addiction
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SOURCE Phoenix House
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