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When there aren’t any more resources

October 25, 2009
By CATHY BROWNFIELD, Family Recovery Center

I don't want to live this way anymore. I can't! But where is the help I need? The help I can afford?

It is difficult to understand the thoughts and feelings of someone with a substance abuse addiction when he or she faces the future and all the challenges they are up against in getting back their lives again. They can't do it alone. But many people with addictions are unable to get the help they need because they don't have health insurance, or their coverage is seriously unadequate, and they can't afford to pay out-of-pocket for treatment.

"Over 851,000 Ohioans suffer from substance dependence or abuse; however, only 11 percent of those needing treatment for alcohol and drug problems presently receive it," according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.)

The economic burden of substance abuse disorders on the U.S. economy, advises the Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers (OARP), is estimated at $414 billion.

But treatment is estimated to save Ohioans more then $370 million for out-of-home child care, prison costs and wages earned. For every dollar spent on treatment, $7 is saved. In 2006 that savings amounted to about $202,500,000. Yet for every dollar spent on substance abuse, only four cents goes to prevention and treatment. The rest of it is spent on the burdens of substance abuse: law enforcement, courts and corrections.

ODADAS (Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services) says that the cost of substance use disorders treatment is 15 times less than the cost of incarceration for a drug-related crime.

Over a two-year period, approximately 31,000 children were removed from their homes and families where substance abuse was involved. About 700,000 Ohio children are affected by substance abuse in some way annually.

These facts are only the tip of the iceberg. The OARP is on a mission to "ensure access to a full continuum of care of clinically appropriate alcohol and drug addiction treatment and preventions services for all Ohio citizens.

One in 10 Americans suffer substance abuse and dependence, and often primary care physicians (94 percent) and pediatricians (41 percent) fail to diagnose it, advises CASA (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse.)

As of 2008, Ohio's population was 11,485,910. SAMHSA estimates over 851,000 Ohioans suffer substance abuse or dependence. Stigma is still an issue with individuals with addictions being tagged as dysfunctional, lazy, deviant or deficient in some way.

Substance abuse affects everyone: the individual, the family, the community. While your child may not be one of Ohio's 31,000 children who were removed from their families over that two-year period because of substance abuse problems, but your child may know some of them. You may not be an employee who works under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, but you may be at risk of injury because of that risky situation. You may not have brought a new life into this world that will always battle Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but your tax dollars will be used by the programs that aid that child's family. Maybe you aren't a drunk driver. Have you considered the guy driving toward you? What's influencing him today?

The goal is not to judge, but to make sure that help is there for those who can't beat their addictions alone and can't afford to pay for their treatment and care.

Budget cuts are at issue in these troubled financial times. From where will help come for those who would give anything to have their lives and families back? The ones who say, I don't want to live this way anymore. I can't! But where is the help I need? The help I can afford?

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment of substance abuse, contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.



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