Getting locked up can make it difficult to seek treatment for an addiction, and that lack of help can prove costly for us all.
Lack of Treatment In Lock-up Proves Costly to All
Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) recently released a comprehensive report on the cost and consequences of untreated substance abuse disorders in the nation’s correctional system and the findings are disturbing. The 144-page report, Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population, shows that 65 percent of inmates behind bars today in the U.S. meet the medical criteria for a substance use disorder, but only 11 percent get treatment while incarcerated.
The same study also found that 1.5 million of the nation’s 2.3 million inmates meet the DSM-IV criteria for substance abuse or addiction, and an additional 458,000 prisoners either have histories of substance abuse or their crimes were related to drug or alcohol use. Combined, those two groups represent a whopping 85 percent of the U.S. prison population, and before you write this off as not your problem, read on.
Those stats also represent individuals in need of treatment. They also represent cold, hard cash it will cost our country in the future. That’s why BehavioralHealthCentral.com is adamant that the cost of treatment is far less than the cost of forgoing programs to help inmates struggling with addiction. “A large study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that the return on investing in treatment for this population may be more than $12 for every dollar spent on treatment,” the organization reported.
Another study showed that $74 billion dollars is spent every year in our criminal justice system coping with the consequences of our failure to prevent and treat addiction. That doesn’t even factor in the hidden long-term costs that include children who lose their parents to prison and the risk it puts those children at for future substance abuse issues.
“We just want to underscore the fact that addiction is a disease, that risky substance use is a public health problem, addiction is a treatable medical problem, and we know that these things can be treated effectively in the context of the justice system,” CASA said of the report.
Addiction Treatment at La Paloma
If you or someone you love is battling an addiction, call La Paloma at the toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.