Experts Call for Reeducation of Public in Matters of Addiction

By Staff Writer

With May marking Mental Health Month, many experts are urging health agencies and the public to reconsider what they know about addiction and to make effective treatments for the conditions as available as therapies for physical conditions.

Suzanne Koesel, the CEO of a mental health facility in Indiana, wrote in the Palladium-Item that society has made great strides in recent years in recognizing addiction and mental illness as diseases that require treatment. Progress has been made in overcoming the stigmas that were once associated with these conditions.

However, she said that only about one in three individuals with a mental disorder receive appropriate care. Given this disparity, she called on the nation to reexamine the way it looks at addiction and mental illness and consider new programs to treat the conditions.

Stigma and misunderstanding still stand between many drug users and effective addiction treatment. The National Institute on Drug Addiction says that many people still believe that addicts simply lack willpower or moral principles. However, the agency cites data suggesting that a powerful set of biological and environmental factors contribute to a person’s susceptibility to addiction.