In the May 24 article Addiction treatment hard to find, even as overdose deaths soar by Liz Szabo of USA Today, Legal Action Center’s Director and President Paul Samuels declares that the question of whether addiction treatment works is settled. According to Samuels, “The data is there, the evidence is in, but our public policy has not caught up with the science.”
Samuels and other experts cited in the article point out that while addiction treatment saves lives, improves health, and costs less than reacting to the damage untreated addiction can cause, evidence-based substance use treatment remains difficult to access for many people who need it. Lack of treatment capacity is one factor inhibiting access. Another is poor insurance coverage. “Medicaid programs in at least 17 states, for example, don’t pay for long-term methadone treatment, according to the Legal Action Center.”
This must-read article discusses the explosion in overdose deaths, the reasons that addiction treatment can be so hard to access, and potential solutions offered in Congress. It also includes heart-wrenching stories of parents who lost children to untreated addictions and the heroic efforts they are making now to prevent the types of tragedies they endured.