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Friday, March 1, 2013

Affordable Care Act Will Save Millions

Addiction affects millions of Americans and countless family members as well as loved ones. In the past two decades substance abuse treatment has made huge strides, but unfortunately it is not enough. There are many people who simply do not receive the care they require to battle their disease - make no mistake about it; addiction is a disease that cannot be cured. However, treatment can provide individuals with the tools to maintain a program of recovery that allows them to live a healthy and meaningful life.

Due to the efforts of doctors, scientists, and counselors there is a hope for the future and people who were unable to receive treatment will now be able to do so. A. Thomas McLellan, PhD, CEO and co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute as well as former Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, believes that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will revolutionize the field of substance abuse treatment.

“It will have more far-reaching positive consequences for substance abuse treatment than anything in my lifetime, including the discovery of methadone,” he said at the recent annual meeting of the New York Society of Addiction Medicine. “It will integrate substance abuse treatment into the rest of health care.”

In the United States only 2.3 million people receive any type of substance abuse treatment, less than one percent of the total population of people who are affected by the disease of addiction, said Dr. McLellan.

“If diabetes were treated like substance abuse, only people in the most advanced stages of illness would be covered, such as those who had already lost their vision or had severe kidney damage,” he said.

A staggering 23 million American adults battle with some form of substance abuse or dependence, that is about the same number of adults who have diabetes, according to Dr. McLellan. What’s more, there are 60 million people engaging in “medically harmful” substance use, for example - a woman whose two daily glasses of wine aids in the growth of her breast cancer.

The ACA will enable millions more people to receive the treatment they desperately require, as well as those in the beginning stages of substance abuse.

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