Drug addiction is a complex medical problem with negative consequences that can affect almost every part of a patient’s life. To be successful, a drug addiction treatment program must be ready to address these issues by not only focusing on the patient’s addictive behavior, such as drug use, but also offering solutions to ancillary problems. Many programs now offer job skills training in order to help the patient become a productive member of both his family and society at large. This aspect of drug addiction treatment is an essential part of encouraging patients to stay sober by giving them something to be sober for.
Drug addiction treatment can be found in a variety of environments, using many different behavioral and pharmacological methods. There are over 10,000 drug addiction treatment facilities in the US that offer counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, and case management to those suffering with substance abuse.
In addition to formal drug addiction treatment centers, many drug addicts can get valuable assistance in doctor’s offices and medical clinics from doctors, nurses, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. Drug addiction treatment can be offered in outpatient, inpatient and residential settings and, although some treatment models are typically associated with a particular treatment environment, many effective methods are flexible enough to be offered anywhere.
Since drug addiction is such a major public health issue, much of the funding for drug treatment comes from local, state and federal government budgets. Although private or employer-subsidized health insurance policies can provide coverage for addiction treatment and the resulting medical fallout, benefit caps have resulting in shorter stays or the total elimination of certain programs. Although the US Congress recently passed a mental health parity law, it does not apply to all insurers and there are significant loopholes available for corporations to use to avoid having to pay out benefits.
Those suffering from drug addiction, whether they inject drugs or not, have an increased risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C and other types of infection diseases because these diseases can be spread by sharing contaminated needs and having unprotected sex (drug use lowers inhibitions and leads to more promiscuous sexual behavior). Because drug addiction treatment, by definition, reduces both needle sharing and risky sexual behavior, it also prevents the spread of infection diseases.
Drug addicts who use needles are almost six times more likely to get HIV than those who stop using and enter and stay in drug treatment as those in treatment often reduce participation in the risky behavior that can spread disease. Treatment programs also offer a safe environment for infectious disease screening, counseling and referral to maintenance programs.
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