According to mysanantonio.com, only 1 in 10 substance abusers get specialized treatment. If this was the treatment rate for illnesses such as cancer or diabetes, the public would not tolerate it for a second.
Substance addiction has killed 500,000 Americans since 2000. These statistics prove that addiction is a public health issue and should be treated just as every other illness. More people suffer from substance abuse than cancer — a whopping 20.8 million people.
People who become addicted to substances do not intend on being lawbreakers or felons; they should be looked at as just having a disease of the brain. Substance abuse has been linked to mental illness.
Mental Health America ranked Texas the 46th state in the country to give access to mental health treatment. Only eight other states surpass Texas in the most number of substance abuse deaths. According to various statistics, the state of Texas needs to reevaluate the way they deal with substance abuse.
Why is This Happening?
Substance abuse and other health issues are very separated from each other in the eyes of society. Those suffering from drug or alcohol abuse are put below those who are suffering with other types of illnesses, so many people are left unattended.
Discrimination of users is very common, so there are a lack of facilities and insurance for these people. Since drugs and alcohol can take over brain circuits, it is a health condition, and more people need to view it this way.
“In other words, use disrupts the ability to control and avoid. It is not a matter of weakness. We know this intuitively, but the science on it is even firmer.” (mysanantonio.com)
A United States General named Vivek Murthy is an advocate for the state of Texas to improve how substance abuse is dealt with and says that the problem is a “moral test for America.”
We must all be advocates for a public health approach to addiction instead of being discriminatory. More funds from the government and sponsored prevention programs along with the push from rehabilitation need to be put in place to ensure the well-being of users.
Addiction must be treated as a public health issue. With a new look on the issue, hopefully the death rates will drop in the upcoming years. Nothing will happen by judging substance abusers; we must help them on their road to recovery.