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Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG) Statement on Annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data Released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Date:9/10/2009

BALTIMORE, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement can be attributed to Victor Capoccia, director of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG) initiative:

"The national data released today confirms that untreated alcohol and drug addiction remains at pandemic levels, with 23 million Americans suffering from the disease, approximately the same number that suffers from type 2 diabetes. But you wouldn't know it from the way our country responds to the problem. Only one in 10 Americans affected by addiction is treated, as opposed to four out of five people with diabetes. Inability to pay the cost of treatment was the most common reason cited by those who wanted but did not receive treatment. Addiction is a disease; it's time we started treating it that way."

"The nation is focused on how best to reform our health care system. Access to effective addiction treatment will save billions of dollars over a decade's time compared with the costs and health complications that come with not treating people at all. Ignoring any disease - be it addiction, diabetes or hypertension - is bad medicine and should not be an option in today's health care system. Addiction treatment should be fully covered by all insurance plans."

According to the data released today (see: Section 7.3. "Need for and Receipt of Specialty Treatment," http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh/2k8nsduh/2k8Results.cfm):

  • In 2008, 23.1 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem (9.2 percent of the persons aged 12 or older), consistent with numbers reported in previous years.
  • Of those needing treatment, 2.3 million (0.9 percent of persons aged 12 or older and 9.9 percent of those who needed treatment
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SOURCE Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap
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