The business of drug Abuse abuse
Western Governors University
What is the economic cost of substance abuse and addiction? The estimates are shocking in the hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Yes, that’s right…. not hundreds of millions, but hundreds of billions of dollars. Illicit drug use alone accounts for 181 billion dollars per year in health care, productivity loss, crime, incarceration, and drug enforcement. Alcohol addiction accounts for approximately the same amount also. ("Molecules to Managed Care," 2008) So how do we deal with such an enormous problem? We can’t ignore problems of such a monumental financial impact to our country. We spend so much ...view middle of the document...
Norms for the behaviors are predominantly developed in the context of interactions with three sources: family, school, and peer clusters. Healthy family and school systems are more likely to transmit pro-social norms, but with teens, peer clusters tend to be the main source of deviant behavior. Alcohol and drug use interferes with the development of interpersonal relationships and learning how to regulate their emotions. This follows them throughout their lifetime. Of those who have drug and alcohol dependence issues 67% will experience depression, and 71% will experience anxiety in their lifetime. (Lopez et al., 2001)
What is addiction? Addiction is a brain disease that is characterized by the following: compulsive behavior, continued abuse of drugs despite negative consequences, and persistent changes in the brain structure and function. ("Molecules to Managed Care," 2008) Although the initial exposure to the substance is voluntary, it can evolve to drug addiction. The disease of addiction drives a person to become obsessed with obtaining and using drugs despite life and health consequences. Addiction is much like other diseases in that it is preventable, and treatable. If left alone it permanently changes biology and structure in the brain, and can last an entire lifetime. It not only destroys the life of the addict, but all those around them.
What is the cost of preventing this devastating disease? Can we really afford not to see addiction for the disease that it really is? Early intervention before drug and alcohol abuse progresses to addiction has been proven to be effective. Drug abuse is defined as: the use of illegal drugs, or the misuse of prescription or over the counter drugs for at least a year with negative consequences. (Health Central website, nod) Many people believe they do not need to seek help until they become addicted.
Early intervention has been shown to be one of the most cost effective ways to address substance abuse before it progresses to addiction. Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to treatment (SBIRT) is a comprehensive program of early intervention and treatment services for those at risk for developing substance abuse disorders. SBIRT is designed to take place in medical settings where people routinely go to seek care. It is used to identify those whose substance abuse puts them at a higher risk of developing an addiction. Early intervention prior to addiction is the primary focus of SBIRT.
SBIRT is administered in three steps: 1. Screening individuals to assess the severity of substance use, thus identifying the appropriate level of care. Typically this takes place in trauma centers, emergency rooms, health centers, and community and school clinics. 2. Brief intervention, which focuses on making the person aware of substance use and encouraging changes in behavior. 3. Referral to treatment for those that are in need of more extensive abuse treatment in a specialty facility. (Office of National...