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Three-Quarters of Americans Believe Health Insurance Should Pay for Addiction Treatment, Yet Most Don't Know If Their Health Plan Covers Substance-Abuse Care, Says New Hazelden Survey
Date:2/3/2009

every member of the family has a problem with drugs or alcohol.
  • When you expand the questions to include both immediate and extended family, virtually half of Americans surveyed reported three or more family members have experienced a problem with drugs during their lives.
  • Drug "War" Not Working, Support for Prevention/Treatment

    The Hazelden survey also indicated that Americans will want changes in how their government and businesses handles addiction and treatment:

    • Seventy-nine percent feel the War on Drugs has not been successful.
    • Eighty-three percent agree that much more should be done to prevent addiction.
    • A majority (83 percent) believe that first-time drug offenders should get chemical dependency treatment rather than prison time.
    • Most respondents (77 percent) agree that many addicts who complete treatment go on to lead useful lives.

    Stigma of Addiction Still an Obstacle to Healing

    Hazelden's survey revealed that stigma still remains toward people who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Although 78 percent of Americans recognize that addiction is a chronic disease rather than a moral failing, the words used by those surveyed when asked to describe people who have problems with drugs or alcohol included: "sinner," "irresponsible," "selfish," "stupid," "uncaring," "loser," "undisciplined," "pitiful," "pathetic," "weak," "criminal," "derelict," "washed up" and "crazy." The single highest negative consequence reported of having a family member with a drug problem was "embarrassment/social stigma."

    "What Hazelden's new survey brought home to me is that Americans understand addiction is a disease, yet much more work must be done to explain how effective treatment can be for addicts and to bring an end to the stigma
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    SOURCE Hazelden Foundation
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