National Study By NIDA Reveals The Majority of People With Drug Dependence Or Drug Abuse Problems Are Never Treated
Although the cultural perspective about drug dependence and drug abuse is that the majority of people who need help are receiving help, it is not the case in reality. According to a recent NIDA study, only 8 percent of people identified as drug abusers, and fewer than 40 percent of those diagnosed with drug dependence, have ever had any kind of intervention or received any kind of treatment. The clinical staff at ONE80CENTER is not surprised by such findings. Although recovery is more prominent in our popular culture, particularly in the wake of reality television and the tabloid media, it is not more accessible to the average American. Such awareness of actual treatment options is limited at best.
NIDA Study On Drug Dependence & Treatment Access
The study was conducted by scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Both institutes are auxiliary components of the National Institutes of Health. “Even though we know drug addiction treatment can work, lifetime treatment rates are substantially lower than corresponding treatment rates of other major psychiatric disorders,” says NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni. “This tells us that we should focus on strategies designed to help us close the treatment gap.”
Originally published in the May 2007 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, the survey results show that rates of drug dependence and drug abuse are generally higher among certain populations, including men, respondents aged 18 to 44 years, and people who have never married. The study also confirmed that the onset of drug dependence and drug dependence typically occurs during late adolescence or early adulthood. These findings suggest that certain groups are more vulnerable and should be targeted for early intervention efforts. ”We are concerned because treatment rates are this low despite the availability of effective interventions,” says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. “We must encourage the public to view addiction as a brain disease that needs to be treated like any other chronic disease.”
Educate Public About Drug Dependence
Says lead author Dr. Wilson Compton of NIDA, “Clearly, there is a need for increased information and outreach to destigmatize drug use disorders and develop approaches to educate physicians and the public about treatment.” This study and others indicate that significant associations exist between drug abuse and co-occurring mental illness, including mood and anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. In fact, help-seeking behavior was more common in those with co-occurring psychiatric disorders. The authors advise that a person with a substance use disorder should also be evaluated for mental illness, and conversely, a person with a mental disorder should be evaluated for possible substance abuse.
“Our results indicate that in 2001-2002, two percent of American adults experienced drug abuse or drug dependence in the preceding 12 months, while ten percent developed a drug use disorder at some time during their lives,” says Dr. Compton. “We see high rates of drug use disorders in persons who are now 30 to 44 years old. This means we might expect increases in drug abuse and addiction rates of older adults as that group ages.”
The authors analyzed data gathered from face-to-face interviews with more than 43,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older, as part of the 2001-2002 NESARC. According to the co-author of the report, Dr. Bridget F. Grant, “Because drug use disorders so commonly co-occur with alcohol use disorders, the NESARC provides rich information on the similarities and differences between these conditions.” What is fascinating is that among individuals with drug dependence or drug abuse problems that have never received treatment, more than 94 percent do not feel they need treatment.
ONE80CENTER believes that the findings in this important report suggest that a sea change is necessary in perception in order to address the growing problem of drug dependence and drug abuse. Before such problems become full-fledged addiction, the awareness of the effectiveness of early intervention and treatment is essential. If our society is willing to take the first step and fully support such options, many thousands of young people could be saved from years of mental suffering, intimate damage and careless destruction.
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