NASADAD Says 'Treatment Works.'(National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors)

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NASADAD Says 'Treatment Works'

The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors issued a report asserting that despite "unequivocal evidence that treatment for alcohol and other drug dependency works and saves society money," the federal government continues to shortchange treatment and prevention funding.

In a report entitled "Treatment Works: The Tragic Cost of Undervaluing Treatment in the `Drug War'," NASADAD summarized findings of treatment effectiveness from research over a 15-year period, as well as data garnered from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

According to an October survey of state alcohol and drug directors included in the report, only one in eight people in need of alcohol and/or drug treatment is receiving it - about one in seven adults and one in 13 adolescents. Nearly 1.3 million adults a year were receiving alcohol and other drug treatment, while nearly 9 million were estimated in need of services. And only 123,525 adolescents were receiving treatment on an annual basis, compared to nearly 1.7 million estimated to be in need of treatment (see table on page 6). These estimates were derived from responses from 41 states and the District of Columbia, and were characterized by NASADAD as "extremely conservative." [Tabular Data Omitted]

At a news conference releasing the report, NASADAD President John Gustafson said, "There are no great unsolved mysteries to drug and alcohol treatment. The evidence demonstrates the overwhelming success of virtually every type of treatment. The real mystery is why we spend so little treating dependency and so much paying for its effects - crime, violence, illness, family breakups, poverty, lost production and lost lives."

NASADAD compiled the report in response to an initiative voted at its annual meeting last June to raise public awareness about the value of alcohol and other drug abuse treatment services. In the introduction, NASADAD said: "Treatment programs now, as in the past, are undervalued as weapons in the so-called 'drug war,' and funds for treatment services continue to be inadequate to serve many people who need and request help. …