Study highlights the critical need for removal of discriminatory barriers to people with addiction and fighting for recovery - costing nation $343 Billion a year.
The results from the first nationwide survey of persons in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs released by Faces & Voices of Recovery documents the heavy costs of addiction to the individual and the nation and for the first time, measures and quantifies the effects of recovery over time.
During their active addiction, 50 percent of respondents had been fired or suspended once or more from jobs, 50 percent had been arrested at least once and a third had been incarcerated at least once, contributing to a total societal cost of $343 billion to our nation annually.
There are over 23 million Americans in recovery from addiction in the US. The dramatic improvements associated with recovery affected all areas of life including a ten-fold decrease in involvement with the criminal justice system and use of costly emergency room departments and a 50 percent increase in participation in family activities and in paying taxes compared with their lives in active addiction. Yet, discriminatory practices in housing, employment, health insurance coverage and elsewhere remain tremendous barriers to recovery.
"It's time to take action to end discrimination facing people in or seeking recovery from addiction. As this survey from Faces & Voices documents, recovery benefits everyone," said former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
"This survey documents, for the first time ever, that investing in recovery makes sense. When we get the help and support that we need, we are employed, pay bills and taxes, vote, volunteer in our communities and take care of our health and families," said Faces & Voices board chair Dona Dmitrovic. "We call on states and the Congress to reform drug policy by addressing and removing discriminatory barriers; ensuring access to and financing for a full range of health care and other services to support Americans in initiating and sustaining their recovery, and to invest in research to identify quality and cost-effective recovery-promoting policies and practices."
While the many costs of active addiction are well documented, very little is known about the changes in key life areas as a function of entering and sustaining recovery, or when they occur. The survey measures and quantifies the recovery experience over time - Less than 3 years; 3 to 10 years; and 10 years and more.
"These research findings are a call to action to policy makers and the public," said Dmitrovic. "Life keeps getting better as recovery progresses."
To read more about this survey, click here.
Click here to read NCADD's information on recovery at "A Vision of Hope, Help and Healing"