Undoubtedly, saying that preservation of life should be a top priority of lawmakers on both sides, there are societal concerns to consider as well—such as the annual cost of addiction. Or, to word it in a different way, the yearly cost of failing to treat addiction. The Surgeon General’s report found that the yearly price tag attached to addiction is a whopping $442 billion. The hefty cost of misusing alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs. Communities across the nation face the burden of:
- Alcohol and drug-related crime and violence.
- Abuse and neglect of children.
- Heightened costs of health care linked to substance abuse.
It is vital that a greater emphasis is placed on the treatment of co-occurring disorders. People facing the challenge of addiction and depression concurrently require that both disorders be treated at the same time. A failure to treat one, without the other, can be and often is disastrous—resulting in relapse or worse. Fortunately, the 21st Century Cures Act and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) should result in more Americans accessing and receiving treatment. The authors of the Surgeon General’s report write:
“Many factors contribute to this “treatment gap,” including the inability to access or afford care, fear of shame and discrimination, and lack of screening for substance misuse and substance use disorders in general health care settings.”