Addiction treatment has been in high demand in recent years. As of the latest data collection in 2021, 42.9 million Americans had an addiction to alcohol or illicit drugs. This is equal to 15.3% of the population aged 12 and older.
With millions of people living with an addiction, it’s pretty clear that the treatment industry will have a major role to fill in the coming years. Learn some of the top data-driven predictions for addiction treatment in 2024.
1. There will be increased investment in addiction treatment services.
The number of people living with addiction has increased in recent years. As of 2021, 42.9 million Americans, equal to 15.3% of the population, had an addiction. Five years earlier, in 2016, 7.5% of the population, or 20.1 million people, had an addiction.
The prevalence of addiction has increased dramatically, so we can expect investments in treatment services to increase in 2024, primarily out of necessity. For Fiscal Year 2024, the President’s Budget allocates $10.8 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, over $3 billion more than the previous year.
This funding will specifically increase investments in the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Support Block Grant. This grant ensures that Americans have access to quality treatment to reduce substance misuse and provide recovery support.
2. There will be a reduction in stigma.
Stigma against individuals who struggle with substance use is common. Many people still believe addiction is a moral failing or lack of willpower, rather than a medical disease. Stigma from others can be damaging. People who perceive stigma from others struggle with lower self-esteem, increased depression and anxiety and poor sleep. Ultimately, this makes it harder to succeed in recovery.
Policymakers are aware of the damaging effects of stigma and are doing something about it. For instance, block grants for substance misuse treatment have been updated with destigmatizing names to help reduce the shame that people may feel when seeking treatment and support.
In 2024, we can expect concerted efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction. These efforts will aim to educate the public about the nature of substance misuse and decrease the amount of shame people experience when reaching out for help.
3. Historically marginalized groups will have greater access to treatment.
It has been well-established that people of color experience disparities in addiction treatment access and quality. Compared to Non-Hispanic Whites, people of color experience worse outcomes when they do seek treatment. They’re also more likely to be arrested and incarcerated for drug crimes.
There are numerous barriers facing black and indigenous people who need substance use disorder treatment. For instance, there is a lack of culturally competent treatment providers, and stigma and discrimination are heightened for these groups as a result of structural racism.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial disparities in behavioral healthcare became even more evident. According to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 9 out of 10 Blacks and Hispanics with a substance use disorder do not receive treatment. Given that these disparities have come to light, we can expect efforts to reduce them in 2024 and beyond.
4. Punitive approaches to managing addiction will become less common.
According to a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 65% of inmates in U.S. prisons have a current substance use disorder. While we have historically criminalized drug use and addressed addiction with punitive approaches, it has become more clear in recent years that individuals with addictions benefit from treatment.
Drug courts that divert criminal offenders to treatment programs, rather than punishing them with jail and prison sentences, have proven effective. For example, one recent study found that drug courts have been beneficial in reducing opioid overdoses. Another study found that participating in a drug court program was associated with a reduced risk of being arrested or convicted of a crime over a 15-year follow-up period.
In 2024, we can expect a continued commitment to providing treatment to individuals with addictions rather than incarcerating them for drug use and possession. Larger numbers of individuals with addictions may be placed in drug court programs, which emphasize treatment, rather than being placed in jail.
5. Harm reduction will become more accepted.
Harm reduction programs, as their name suggests, aim to reduce the harm associated with addiction. These programs have attracted some controversy, but they are growing in popularity. Harm reduction programs reduce the risks associated with drug addiction by providing people with lifesaving overdose reversal medications, sterile equipment for drug use and referrals to other services.
Some people argue that harm reduction enables drug use, but ultimately, these programs aim to keep drug users alive and to promote their health and well-being. The end goal is for people to enter into a recovery program, and harm reduction centers can offer education and referrals to counseling and rehab programs.
For Fiscal Year 2024, the President’s Budget includes $50 million in funding for harm reduction initiatives. You can expect harm reduction approaches to become more normalized in 2024.
6. Primary care offices will be equipped to manage substance use disorders.
Integrating substance use disorder services into primary care could help more people access addiction treatment. After all, many people with addictions see a primary care doctor for behavioral health problems before seeing a specialty provider.
Integration of substance use services in primary care means that patients can see both a primary care doctor and addiction treatment providers in the same office setting. Primary care physicians and behavioral health clinicians in these settings collaborate to provide patients with the best care possible.
The 2024 budget includes $102.9 million for integrating primary and behavioral health care. This is a $47 million increase demonstrating a commitment to increasing access to addiction treatment.
7. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) will become more popular in addiction treatment.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment modality that stimulates areas of the brain involved in mood regulation. It is currently FDA-approved for treating depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
While not an approved drug addiction treatment, TMS can be helpful for individuals who live with co-occurring mental health disorders. Preliminary research also suggests that TMS could be beneficial for managing cravings in people with stimulant addictions.
We already know that TMS is beneficial for treating depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As such, we are likely to see more treatment centers offering this modality, especially if they provide treatment for both addiction and mental illness. In the future, as we learn more about the benefits of TMS, we may see its use explicitly expanded for drug addiction. Our Denver outpatient location, Denver Mental Health & Counseling is the first facility in our network to offer this evolving technology to our patients.
8. More treatment centers will offer EMDR.
Researchers have found that there is a strong overlap between addiction and PTSD, so it is important for addiction treatment centers to offer therapies that can address co-occurring trauma. EMDR is one such treatment modality. It helps patients to change the way trauma is stored in the brain so it causes less distress.
EMDR has been utilized to treat trauma in people participating in drug courts. One study found that 91% of patients receiving EMDR successfully graduated from drug court, compared to 57% who opted not to participate in EMDR.
EMDR can help individuals with trauma process traumatic memories and move toward healing. This can be beneficial for addiction recovery, especially in people who are using substances to self-medicate. Given its benefits for alleviating trauma in people with addictions, we can expect EMDR to be more widely utilized in addiction treatment programs. Many facilities in The Recovery Village network offer EMDR as part of their services.
9. Use of a Stellate Ganglion Block will become more common.
Stellate ganglion block (SGB) is another innovative treatment modality that may find its place in addiction treatment in 2024. SGB is a procedure that injects local anesthetic into the neck to regulate the sympathetic nervous system. This can correct the body’s overactive “fight or flight” response.
Since it can calm an overactive nervous system, SGB can be utilized as an alternative treatment for PTSD. Some addiction treatment centers may begin to offer SGB for patients who have co-occurring trauma. The IAFF Center of Excellence, which treats PTSD and addictions in firefighters, is one treatment center that offers SGB to patients, allowing them to focus on and get the most out of therapy sessions.
10. Dual diagnosis treatment will become the norm.
Among individuals with an addiction, 37.9% have a co-occurring mental health disorder. Because there is a strong overlap between mental health and addiction, some treatment centers offer dual diagnosis services, which refer to programs that can treat addiction and mental health conditions simultaneously.
Treating addiction and mental health disorders together is the best practice. Given this fact, it is essential for addiction treatment centers to ensure that patients are receiving treatment for any co-occurring mental health diagnoses they have.
To ensure the best outcomes for patients, many treatment centers in 2024 will choose to offer dual diagnosis services on-site. This means patients with a mental health need will not have to go to a separate provider for treatment of the mental health disorder. This can eliminate barriers to treatment-seeking for individuals who have a dual diagnosis. Currenly, all of The Recovery Village treatment centers offer dual diagnosis care.
The Recovery Village Leads the Industry
If you’re looking for addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, The Recovery Village is a recognized leader in the addiction treatment industry. We have inpatient and outpatient treatment options, with facilities in numerous states nationwide, including Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio, Colorado, Washington, Maryland and Missouri. Our footprint is expected to expand in 2024 to Indiana and California.
We offer innovative treatments, including TMS in our Denver outpatient program, and several of our facilities provide EMDR services. All of our facilities offer dual diagnosis treatment. Contact us today to learn more or to begin the admissions process.
Begin Your Recovery Today
If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Reach out to us today to begin living a substance-free life.
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.