Pubdate: Sun, 28 Nov 1999
Source: Arizona Republic (AZ)
Copyright: 1999, The Arizona Republic.


By and large, neither the alcohol abuser nor the alcoholic wants
treatment. Even for those who do, there's not much of it to go around.

Alcohol abusers and alcoholics generally aren't looking to be helped.
Enabled to continue drinking, yes. But helped to "recovery," no.

Still, treatment is critical to recovery. Arizonans who seek treatment
and put their alcohol problems behind them, according to a 1996
statewide household survey, reverse social and health downward
spirals. They enjoy home and work stability at levels equal to people
who've never had substance abuse problems.

The survey found that, in the 12 months prior to the survey, nine out
of 10 Arizonans who needed substance abuse services did not receive
them. This is a stunning statistic.

Most of these people never asked for help.

The majority of people with substance abuse problems have insurance
that covers treatment. But of those who sought treatment, one in four
spent an average of 53 days on a waiting list. This is hardly
conducive to recovery.

Nationally, the availability of treatment is a problem, too. There are
only enough substance abuse treatment services available to serve
about one-third of the people who need them, according to the Center
for Substance Abuse, a division of the U.S. Department of Health Services.

Although alcohol abuse is more widespread and has far greater impact
on society than illegal drug abuse, fewer private and public treatment
dollars are directed to it, according to a 1998 report of the federal
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

About $5 billion was spent in the United States on treatment for
alcohol abuse, compared with $7.6 billion for other drug abuse.

The Arizona Department of Health Services conservatively estimates
that 55,000 Arizonans need publicly funded substance abuse treatment
that they are not getting.

That figure is based on a survey in which people are asked to assess
their own problems. People generally underestimate - or lie - about
their abuse.

We're talking about a basement-floor estimate of need, not a cathedral

We're talking trouble.
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MAP posted-by: Derek Rea