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Drug Treatment Options

As mentioned in previous articles millions of people need treatment for alcohol or drug abuse and addiction. Without treatment, these people continue a downward spiral of more and more drug abuse, many times turning to criminal behavior to support their addiction. One estimate of the cost to society for the drug abuse of these millions of people is $181 million. If you add in alcohol and tobacco abuse and the problems they create, the costs add over $500 billion dollars. This takes in healthcare for those addicted, lost productivity at employment, and prosecuting criminal behavior.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse provides the following important points for effective treatment programs:

·Staying in the treatment for as long as possible is very important and directly related to how well the treatment works.

·Each treatment can effect individuals differently.

·The more available the treatment, the better.

·The individual and his/her treatmenteeds to be monitored and altered to meet the individual’s needs.

·The treatment may not always be voluntary, sometimes legally, someone will need to be forced into treatment, and the treatment can still be effective in this case.

·Make sure the person is drug-free during treatment.

Sometimes, the criminal justice system must take a part in forcing someone into treatment and make them stay there. In 2002, a survey showed that around 52 percent of women in prison and 44 percent of men in prison were dependent on drugs. These statistics hint at the major problem drugs are in the criminal justice system.

Many people who suffer from drug addiction have a range of other problems such as mental health or social problems that cause their problems to be more frustrating to treat.  Still, finding a good individual combination of behavioral treatment, therapy and medication can help them kick their addiction. In looking at the types of medication available for treatment, mood stabilizers and antidepressants can help those who suffer from drug addiction. Other medications can help with withdrawal symptoms and still other medications are more tailored to specific drug or alcohol addictions.

Drug addiction has been characterized as a disease and as any disease, needs certain treatments. The best drug treatment is an individually tailored drug treatment program using whatever combination of medication, support groups, treatment centers, etc. as needed. Promoting a safe and healthy lifestyle is important for those trying to conquer drug addiction. A future article will look more in-depth at the types of treatment centers available.


National Institute on Drug Abuse, “NIDA InfoFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addcition,” [online].

National Institute on Drug Abuse, “NIDA InfoFacts: Treatment for Drug Abusers in the Criminal Justice System,” [online].

National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide,” [online].

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