Happy female patient and doctor at office

Drug Treatment

Effective solutions for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction are sorely needed in communities throughout the United States, but few of those who need such treatment receive the help that they need. According to the results of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 24 million Americans aged 12 years or older met the criteria for addiction or substance abuse disorder in 2009, a figure that constitutes nearly 1 out of 10 people in that age group throughout the United States. With so many Americans struggling with substance abuse and the devastating impact that it has on a person’s life, it would be natural to expect that these people would be getting treatment for their condition. Unfortunately, most do not.

The same SAMHSA survey reveals that only 11.2 percent of those who needed treatment were receiving it at a specialty facility. Nearly 9 out of 10 addicts are left struggling with their problems, and very often the results of this neglect are tragic. For example, approximately 15,000 people die every year from overdosing on prescription painkillers, a figure that does not include the deaths from overdose on other drugs, as well as people who die in drug-related fatal accidents. Of those who did receive treatment, nearly half — 41.4% — were treated for alcohol abuse or addiction, while 18.3% were treated for addiction to alcohol and another drug.

Drugs Sending People to Rehab

The next most common drugs of addiction for which people were admitted to treatment included:

  • 17% – Marijuana
  • 14.1% – Heroin
  • 8.1% – Crack cocaine
  • 6.5% – Stimulants, including methamphetamine and prescription stimulants for ADHD such as Adderall
  • 5.9% – Opiates not including heroin, such as the prescription painkillers Vicodin and OxyContin

The most common age group for treatment admissions was those between the ages of 25 and 29 years, and a total of 40.8% were under the age of 30 years.

Drug Treatment Options

There are countless addiction treatment centers located throughout the United States, and an endless variety of different programs, each with its own approach to treatment. Some take an approach based on the idea that addiction is an incurable disease. These methodologies generally teach the person that addiction is something that he or she will be living with for the rest of his or her life, and that the person will forever be a “recovering addict.” Others us a drug-based approach for treating drug addiction. For example, they may use methadone, a powerful opiate painkiller, for treatment of an addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers. By replacing one drug with another, they seek to ease the person down off of the addiction, with the unfortunate consequence that the person will sometimes become addicted to the replacement drug. Many treatment centers offer a 28-day rehab, an approach which is sometimes effective but which all too often produces results that fall short of what the person was hoping for. Not surprisingly, drug rehab treatment has acquired a motley reputation. Some people swear by it, while others have the idea that rehab simply does not work.

What is Successful in Regards to Drug Addiction Treatment

There are many unique approaches to treat addiction. Rather than viewing addiction as a disease, a disability or a failure on the part of the addict, there is a workable theory that a person can overcome addiction, and it recognizes that addiction is something that can happen to anyone. In most if not all cases an addict doesn’t want to be addicted but is drive by hopelessness and in a trap that he or she feels they cannot esape. As soon as an addict can feel healthier and more competent mentally and physically without drugs than he does on drugs, he ceases to require drugs.” A successful program works by increasing the ability of the person, so that he or she can realize that there is life after addiction and that drugs are not necessary to be happy. Furthermore, the program should use a physical component for the addicted person so that he or she is no longer burdened by the toxicity of drugs and is therefore less likely to suffer a relapse.