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Gateway Responding To Increased Need for Treatment Among Middle-Income Substance Abusers
Date:9/18/2009

CHICAGO, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- As economic, social and political factors change the face of substance abuse in Illinois, the state's leading provider of addiction treatment services is expanding its efforts to help the growing number of people who can't afford expensive clinics but also fail to qualify for government-funded treatment programs.

Gateway Foundation Inc., a 41-year-old non-profit organization, serves more than 29,000 patients in Illinois each year, historically through publicly funded treatment programs. But as the overall need for treatment grows at the same time government funding is increasingly in jeopardy, Chicago-based Gateway is sharpening its focus on middle-income patients who must pay for treatment out of pocket or through private insurance.

At its four Chicago-area facilities - on the city's Westside, near Humboldt Park, and in suburban Aurora and Lake Villa - and at five other locations across the state, Gateway is offering a variety of customized, flexible and fully integrated treatment programs based on nationally recognized clinical criteria from the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

"The current economic situation has created a 'perfect storm' of factors that threatens those suffering the consequences of an untreated substance abuse problem," said Gateway President & CEO Michael Darcy. "People who have been laid off or closed their business are less able to afford treatment due to loss of salary and benefits, yet their emotional state may make them more likely to seek comfort or escape in drugs or alcohol.

"At the same time," Darcy added, "shrinking tax revenue is forcing governments to cut programs, which is a major concern because public funding covers approximately 80 percent of all spending on substance abuse treatment in the U.S."

In fact, affordability has long been a major obstacle for substance abuse patients in need of treatment. For instance, according to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2007 more than 868,000 Americans felt they needed treatment for alcoholism but failed to pursue such treatment; 35% of them cited cost or insurance barriers as the reason they didn't get the help they needed.

Sally Thoren, community director for Gateway in Chicago, says the organization is committed to helping people of all income levels to structure a program that not only meets their treatment needs, but fits within their long-term financial picture as well.

"There is considerable data that shows the economic benefits of treating substance abuse," said Thoren. "One study showed people were three times as likely to be employed after completing treatment than those who don't seek help. Other research points to the increased earnings, improved health and lower medical costs of those who get treatment. So the question isn't what's the cost of treatment, but rather, what's the cost of not treating substance abuse."

About Gateway

Gateway Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides effective and efficient treatment to reduce the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, as well as frequently co-occurring mental health problems. Founded in 1969, the Chicago-based organization is the largest provider of substance abuse treatment services in Illinois, operating nine residential and outpatient treatment centers across the state. For more information, call 877-321-RECOVER or visit www.recovergateway.org.


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SOURCE Gateway Foundation Inc.
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