Treatment is needed now more than ever, but according to a recent report by the Surgeon General, only 10 percent of Americans who face a substance use disorder seek treatment.

It’s no longer far-fetched to say that drug and alcohol addiction affects nearly everyone in the United States of America. The opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions, and its recent labeling as a “public health emergency,” has done little to stop the death toll from climbing. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 115 people die by opioid overdose every day in the United States. This figure accounts for deaths from some of the most addictive opiate substances in the country, such as heroin and hydrocodone, but doesn’t paint the complete picture of the drug crisis.

Deaths from opioids, alcohol and other drugs now outnumber deaths from motor vehicle accidents and gun homicides combined, and the statistics grow more startling with each passing year. In fact, the deadliest year yet is one of the most recent. In 2016, the 64,000 fatal overdose death toll surpassed the American death toll from the Vietnam War, and opioids alone claimed more lives that year than breast cancer did.

The death toll of drug addiction is quickly eclipsing that of homicide, war and other diseases. This unprecedented epidemic tears holes in the hearts and lives of Americans every day. In an attempt to uncover how deeply the drug crisis has affected the nation, The Recovery Village surveyed approximately 400 people from all corners of the country. The data reveals a portrait of the American public overwhelmed by a massive loss of life, yet who are hesitant to pursue healing. This raises the question: How many lives will be lost before treatment becomes a priority?

Do American Beliefs About Addiction Match Reality?

According to The Recovery Village’s survey, almost everyone in the country is either aware of, or intimately familiar with, the drug crisis. Almost half of the participants answered that they had faced addiction in the past, and more than 10 percent struggled with a substance use disorder at the time of the survey. A more telling statistic, however, was that more than 80 percent of respondents knew a friend or family member who currently struggles with addiction. This is a testament to both the extent of the opioid epidemic, and the fact that each person — whether directly touched by addiction or not — is connected to countless others who might be.

As 2016 statistics show, and The Recovery Village survey suggests, most Americans believe addiction is more prevalent (and deadlier) than ever before. Nearly 69 percent of survey respondents agreed that people are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol now than they were in the past. With the increased accessibility to a plethora of illegal drugs and the growing distribution of deadly opioid painkillers by many American doctors, this belief is well justified. However, most Americans are in agreement that the current trends in drug overprescription and misuse lead to addiction, and should not continue.

Almost 83 percent of survey participants said that treatment is needed now more than ever, but according to a recent report by the Surgeon General, only 10 percent of Americans who face a substance use disorder seek treatment. This divide brings up some questions like why does this expansive gap between belief and reality exist? And more importantly, how can more people access treatment?

Why Isn’t Addiction Treatment a Priority?

The public perception of addiction is clear: It’s increasingly easier to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, and rehab treatment is an apparent and immediate need. So why are so few Americans seeking treatment? While people cling to all sorts of rationalizations, four of the most common reasons for not seeking drug and alcohol rehab include:

1. The Expense of Drug and Alcohol Treatment

When The Recovery Village survey respondents who currently face addiction were asked why they don’t seek treatment, more than 30 percent cited the cost of care as the largest deterrence to seeking help. Although cost is a legitimate concern, paying for rehab far outweighs the cost of living with addiction. Treatment also has become more affordable over the years, as the majority of American treatment centers now accept insurance policies and offer reasonable private pay rates. Although treatment can seem like a financial burden, it is ultimately a life-saving investment for people.

Finding a Better Solution

To help more people find the treatment they need, The Recovery Village works with most major insurance providers. There are also resources available to help people better understand and leverage the cost of treatment, including:

If you or a loved one needs rehab care, you can check your policy’s coverage in minutes with The Recovery Village insurance calculator.

2. Family and Career Obligations Come First

The responsibilities of a career and the obligations that come with having a family keep thousands of people from getting the rehab care they deserve. Almost 45 percent of The Recovery Village survey respondents cited work-related responsibilities (including no time-off availability) and family obligations as more important than receiving rehab care. Although putting family first is a sensible priority, it cannot come before addiction treatment; someone who struggles with an addiction will also struggle to care for their loved ones. The same logic also applies career-wise: a substance use disorder often disrupts work performance at best and is cause for termination at worst.

3. Finding the Time for Treatment

For busy professionals, parents and caregiversintensive outpatient programs and outpatient treatment plans offer the flexibility to receive quality addiction care during the day while maintaining outside responsibilities. These programs are generally less expensive than inpatient or residential programs and are easier to balance with an already hectic schedule. To see if this level of care is right for you, call The Recovery Village.

Conversely, if you know someone who faces addiction, The Recovery Village’s friends and family portal can offer guidance, answers and advice on how to get your loved one into treatment.

4. Denial Makes Treatment Seem Unnecessary

When asked to define addiction, over 40 percent of The Recovery Village survey respondents claimed addiction is a disease. Like most Americans, this group believed diseases should be treated immediately, and with great care. To answer why people don’t seek treatment, 34 percent of The Recovery Village survey respondents chose denial as the top reason. Yet, when asked why they don’t seek help for their own substance use issues, 23 percent responded that they didn’t think treatment was necessary. Cognitive dissonance (i.e., denial) keeps far too many people from getting the help they deserve, but denial doesn’t have to be a death sentence.

Talk to Someone Who Understands

When you call The Recovery Village, the person on the other end of the line may already have an idea of what you’re going through. The majority of representatives are in recovery themselves, and once wrestled with some of the denial, guilt, and fear that you may currently face. They know it takes courage to even pick up the telephone, and bravery to admit that you need help. More than that, each representative at The Recovery Village knows what life is like in recovery, and wants to help you realize that you deserve to find the same healing.

On the other hand, if you know someone who faces addiction, The Recovery Village’s friends and family portal can offer guidance, answers and advice on how to get your loved one to treatment.

How to Get Treatment for a Drug or Alcohol Addiction

To end the drug epidemic in America, the trend of not seeking treatment must cease — and it can start with you. Effective rehab care is well within reach for individuals who need it, but far too many people never take the first step. If you face a drug or alcohol addiction, don’t let fear, excuses or false rationalizations stand in the way of treatment. Getting the help you need isn’t as challenging as you may think, and can start with a simple telephone call.

Living with a substance use disorder isn’t worth the cost. To find the drug or alcohol rehab program that meets your needs, you can:

  • Call The Recovery Village: Speaking to one of The Recovery Village representatives can be your first step toward getting the treatment you need. The Recovery Village call center can be reached 24 hours a day, and calling is toll-free and obligation-free. Everything you discuss will be confidential, and the representative can talk through your options for care and begin the admissions process over the telephone if you want to enroll in a program. Call [telephone widget] today to get started.
  • Search for a Treatment Center by Zip Code: The Recovery Village operates full-service facilities in each region of the country so more people can access quality care across the nation. View a list of facility locations or find additional treatment options by entering your zip code.
  • Find Resources Through SAMHSA: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is dedicated to helping people across the country get the help they need to overcome addiction. Using their treatment locator, you can find local clinics, counseling options and more.
  • Call a National Hotline: Not sure if you need rehab care? Feel overwhelmed and just need to talk with someone? To learn more about what’s involved when calling a drug abuse hotline and find a variety of national hotlines for addiction and more, visit The Recovery Village’s drug abuse hotline resource.

Ending the drug epidemic can start with one person deciding to pursue treatment. Don’t let addiction be the end of your story — start a new chapter with comprehensive treatment at The Recovery Village. Call a representative today to get started.

Medical Disclaimer

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.