By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
With the president and Congress considering major, expensive healthcare reform, a group representing an often forgotten group has a message for Washington: Drug and alcohol addicts deserve your love too. The Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap program run by the private Open Society Institute has provided Whispers with a poll that says most Americans know an addict and worry that they can't get the treatment they need.
"Addiction is an equal opportunity disease, as demonstrated by these research findings. It is blind to our differences, and it unites us behind a common purpose—closing the addiction treatment gap," says Victor Capoccia, director of the program. He said that only 10 percent of the 23 million who need addiction treatment are getting it.
To show support for addiction treatment as Washington debates expanding healthcare insurance to the poor and uninsured, the group produced a Lake Research Partners poll that found vast support for funding state and federal drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs. Among the findings:
—Three quarters of Americans (76 percent) know someone personally who has been addicted to alcohol or drugs. Personal experience with addiction spans all demographic groups.
—Three quarters (75 percent) of Americans are concerned that people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs many not be able to get treatment because they lack insurance coverage or cannot afford it.
—Nearly three quarters (73 percent) support including alcohol and drug addition treatment as part of national healthcare reform to make it more accessible and affordable. This support cuts across all demographic groups.
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