Addiction Treatment (By Itself) Is Not Enough

Feb 9, 2019 | General

Addiction treatment as a stand-alone intervention is an inadequate strategy for achieving long-term recovery for individuals and families characterized by high problem severity, complexity, and chronicity and low recovery capital.  In isolation, addiction treatment is equally inadequate as a national strategy to lower the social costs of alcohol and other drug-related problems.  Here’s why.

Specialized addiction treatment as a system of care in the U.S.:

1) attracts too few–only about 10% a year of people in need of it and only a lifetime engagement rate of 25%,

2) begins too late–with years and, in some studies, decades of dependence preceding first treatment admission,

3) retains too few (less than 50% national treatment completion rate),

4) extrudes too many (7.3% of all annual admissions–more than 130,000 individuals–administratively discharged, most for confirming their diagnosis),

5) ends too quickly, e.g., before the 90 days across levels of care recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse,

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by Bill White addiction researcher

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