Friday, May 23, 2014

Numbers and Dollars and Costs of Addiction

Today I participated in a “Lunch & Learn” at The Addictions Care Center of Albany. ACCA has provided forty-seven years of intervention, treatment and advocacy. Today they are all about prevention and treatment, and their prevention programs begin in kindergarten and reach into upper grades. Their treatment programs include residential options and outpatient treatment and programs specifically for men, women, and moms with kids.

Here is what I learned at today’s presentation:

22.5 Million Americans used an illicit substance –in the last month. In a month! And 1.9 million of those folks are in New York State. Now, a use doesn’t make you an addict, but it might get you there. So it’s also significant that only 1 in ten people who need treatment are receiving it. Big problem.

And the other number that made me sit up was this: The cost of addictions is $67 Billion last year in the United States. That cost includes costs to the healthcare system, criminal justice system and lost work, lost wages, family impact. For example, 22% of all police cases involve addition/addicts in some way. And 13% of all employee sick days are addiction related. (Yeah, look around the office, and think again.)

Now here’s another striking number: Every $1 in prevention saves seven dollars in taxpayer costs. That means that our lives and our recoveries are an important social issue.

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