Healthcare Reform: Alcohol & Drug Addiction Treatment

In response to the recently released alarming data on drug and alcohol abuse in the U.S., one advocacy organization has said that the federal healthcare reform has the potential to remove barriers to treatment for millions of affected individuals.

According to Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG) initiative, costs are the main obstacle to treatment access, resulting in the situation where only about 2.6 million individuals, out of 23 million who are addicted to alcohol and drugs, receive effective treatment. What is more, the organization estimates that nearly half of those who do get care have to pay for most or all of it themselves.

The healthcare reform legislation contains provisions for funding preventative programs as well as addiction treatment, which tends to be poorly covered by private insurance.

Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, director for national policy at the Legal Action Center and a member of the CATG initiative, says that much depends on how this reform is implemented at both the federal and state levels.

“This may be the single greatest opportunity in our lifetime to make a difference,” she said, adding that “the costs of untreated addiction are too great to not get this right.”