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City plans celebration of drug and alchohol recovery month

Carbon County will celebrate Alcohol and Drug Recovery Month with a night of celebration on Sept. 10 in the Price Peace Gardens.

The program will feature various public officials and enforcement officers along with food and music by Rock N' Country. The affair starts at 5 p.m. and the music begins at 7 p.m.

Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol and drug use disorders, which include misuse, dependence, or addiction to alcohol and/or legal or illegal drugs.

In 2002, an estimated 22 mind drug use disorders also have a significant impact on spouses and others who are close to people with such disorders.

Family members may experience increased family conflict; emotional or physical violence; and increased family stress, including work problems, illness, marital strain, and financial problems.

Many people in need of recovery have difficulty obtaining the treatment that can help them rejoin their families, their jobs, and their lives in their communities. Yet many others have overcome the numerous barriers to recovery and as a result are leading healthy and productive lives.

The statistics surrounding those who face barriers to being treated for alcohol and drug use disorders are startling. In 2002 they looked like this.

•Only 10.3 percent of Americans age 12 or older who needed treatment for on alcohol or drug use disorder actually received treatment.

•More than 95 percent of people with an alcohol use disorder who did not receive treatment did not believe treatment was necessary. More than 94 percent of people with untreated drug use disorders held the same belief.

•Of those who recognized that they needed treatment, 35 percent (266,000) of Americans suffering from alcohol use disorder and an estimated 88,000 people suffering from a drug use disorder (24.4 percent) tried but were unable to obtain treatment.

Clearly, barriers must be overcome to improve Americans' access to recovery.

Many barriers keep people from the treatment they need, including: a system wide failure to identify affected people and their families and direct them to treatment and recovery resources, the cost of treatment, treatment systems that do not have the facilities or staff to accommodate the needs of some individuals (such as the disabled and those with childcare issues that make it difficult to access treatment) and denial and stigma associated with alcohol and drug use disorders.

Even when people recognize that they are having problems with alcohol or drugs, many say they do not seek treatment because they are not prepared to face the challenges of treatment and recovery. Another reason is that they do not believe they can afford to obtain treatment.

Public and private insurers do not cover treatment at the same level as they cover other health programs, leaving states and local governments to shoulder a large share of the costs for treatment programs. As state budgets tighten, the money available to fund treatment programs is shrinking, making it more difficult for Americans to obtain access to local treatment programs.

To overcome some of these barriers, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has launched the Access to Recovery grant program, a centerpiece of the initiative announced by President Bush in 2003 to help people who want to get off drugs secure the best treatment options available to meet their specific needs.

The competitive grant program gives recipient states, territories, the District of Columbia, and tribal organizations broad discretion to design and implement federally supported voucher programs to pay for a range of effective, community-based, substance abuse clinical treatment and recovery support services. By providing vouchers to people in need of treatment, the grant program promotes individual choice for substance abuse treatment and recovery services. It also expands access to care, including access to faith- and community based programs, and increases substance abuse treatment capacity.

Access to Recovery provides people seeking treatment with vouchers to pay for a range of community based services. The state-run program is built on three principles.

•Consumer choice. The process of recovery is a personal one. Achieving recovery can take many pathways: physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual. With vouchers, people in need of treatment can select the programs and providers that best suit their personal needs.

•Measured results. Programs must demonstrate that their treatment is effective and leads to recovery, as measured by treatment outcomes such as abstinence from drugs and alcohol, no involvement with the criminal justice system, attainment of employment or enrollment in school, and stable housing.

•Increased capacity. The initial phase of Access to Recovery expands the array of treatment services available, including medical detoxification, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, residential services, peer support relapse prevention, case management, and other recovery promoting services.

Alcohol and drug use disorders, which are defined as misuse, dependence, or addiction to alcohol and/or legal or illegal drugs-take on enormous toll on society. Helping people recover from these disorders and lead healthy, productive lives is an important component of the nation's health care agenda.

The social cost of alcohol and drug use in the United States is staggering, estimated at more than $29 billion in 1997. For every $1 invested in treatment, there is a return of between $4 and $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft. When savings related to health core are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12 to 1.2

However, spending on treatment is relatively limited. The total cost to society of substance abuse is nearly 25 times what the United States spends on treatment.

The national investment in treatment has not caught up with the need for such services, and the majority of people who received specialty treatment for an illicit drug use disorder in 2002 reported using their own savings or earnings as a source of payment for their most recent specialty treatment. Other payment sources included private health insurance, Medicaid, and public assistance other than Medicaid. Insurance policies typically do not adequately cover treatment for alcohol and drug use disorders. They often do not cover specific services, and offer only limited if any-support for continuing care, a treatment component that is often essential for people in recovery. Even when they do recover alcohol and drug use disorder treatment, insurers do not always cover it the same way they do other medical conditions, despite the benefits of doing so.

As of January 1, 2001, the Federal Government instituted mental health parity for all employees covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan. Health plans no longer impose higher co-payments or deductions for mental health services or set limits on out-patient visits or hospital stays that are more restrictive than physical heath limits. The parity regulations also cover substance abuse treatment.

Proceeds from the Sept. 10 program will go to support the Carbon County Drug Court. For more information individuals can contact Caroshene Powell at 637-2358.

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