Resources for paying for treatment include drug rehab loans, government programs, new healthcare laws and more.
Substance abuse is a problem that can affect anyone of any socioeconomic status. However, certain risk factors increase one’s chances of using and abusing drugs and alcohol.
Poverty and Addiction
Poverty often seems to cause drug addiction and alcoholism. Of course, this is not actually the case, because it is not really the person’s income level that increases their chances of becoming a drug addict. Rather, the factors that cause poverty often coincide with factors that lead to substance abuse. Low-skilled jobs, unstable relationships, illegitimacy, poor physical health, and high rates of mental health disorders are all more common among low income families, and these characteristics also put people at higher risk for substance abuse.
What is more, individuals that struggle with financial problems that live in low income areas are almost always targets for dug dealers. Many inner city areas are plagued with drug dealers preying on teens and pre-teens, and it is easy for individuals to obtain drugs in these areas.
Drugs are not just found in urban areas, however. Other regions that are home to large groups of low income families, especially areas that are secluded from outsiders, also find their share of drug abuse problems. The Appalachian region of the United States is currently battling a huge prescription drug and heroin epidemic. Experts explain that this is because of the poverty in the area that brings factors like low education, lack of job opportunities, and poor physical health. These factors are some that increase one’s risk of getting caught up with substance abuse.
For many, drugs and alcohol are a way of life; they are things they’ve always been exposed to, and things that many around them are involved with. An individual that is just not able to get on their feet, hold a well-paying job, receive a good education, and even afford proper health care may quickly turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. These individuals might use substances to feel relief from the pain, stress, or unhappiness they find so often in their life, and using substances to meet a need in one’s life is the fastest way to become trapped in addiction. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six (48 million) Americans is living in poverty. 3.7 million of those in poverty are in need of treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, but less than a quarter of those actually get the help they need.
The problem is that addiction and poverty are too often a revolving door of dysfunction. An individual that uses drugs will spend large amounts of money on those drugs. This makes their financial situation even bleaker. The only way to get out of the addiction is to find professional help, which many feel they can’t afford, so they stay in their addiction.
The High Cost of Treatment
Currently, more than 23 million American adults suffer from substance abuse or dependence, but only about 11 percent received treatment, according to estimates from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). An additional 60 million people engage in “medically harmful” substance use, such as individuals whose drug or alcohol use causes them to engage in risky behaviors that can lead to disease or health issues.
Only 11% of People Who Need it Receive Drug Treatment
23 Million Americans suffer from substance abuse or dependence
Only 2.53 million treated (2011)
There are many reasons individual do not seek the treatment they really need. Among them are the fear of the unknown and embarrassment, but cost also often plays a large role in avoidance of treatment.
It’s true that drug addiction treatment can be costly. Average costs can range from $2,000 to $9,500, depending on the services needed and length of stay, an average of $300 to $400 per day. Then there are luxury treatment programs that offer extra amenities for an additional charge, which can increase the cost to tens of thousands of dollars, or upwards of $1,000 per day. Insurance often covers part of treatment, but there are often restrictions put on the person and their treatment program.
The Higher Cost of Addiction
However, living with an addiction can be even more costly. Addiction leads to unearned wages, higher involvement with crime, health care costs, and relationship trouble.
Nationally, illicit drug use alone accounts for $181 billion in health care, productivity loss, crime, incarceration and drug enforcement, according to NIH, and alcohol accounts for $185 billion lost per year. Compared to the cost of addiction, treatment is much less expensive. According to a cost analysis published in the journal Health Services Research and based on information from 6,545 substance abuse treatment clients, every $1,500 spent on nine months of addiction treatment saves $11,000 that would otherwise be lost due to complications of addiction. Major savings to the individual and to society come from greater productivity at work, fewer accidents and injuries, and fewer relationship conflicts such as domestic violence and divorce.
Anyone who continues in an addiction, regardless of their personal finances, faces many dangers. Drug addiction and alcoholism have lasting effects on a person’s health, relationships, and overall wellbeing. If left untreated, anyone that is controlled by addiction faces losing everything and everyone that were once important to them.
There are programs that will soon be available to many Americans, including most low income families, and this is a result of the change in perception that has occurred regarding addiction. As our society becomes wiser about drug and alcohol addiction, more people see the need for substance abuse treatment, and there are many more resources for those in need of treatment. Substance addiction used to be viewed as a moral shortcoming or a flaw in the individual’s character. Those who could not overcome their addiction were considered unmotivated, lazy, or thought of as simply not trying hard enough. As the years have passed, research has shown the extremely controlling nature of addiction, and the necessity of rehabilitation and therapy for the person to stop using the substances.
Now that many people understand that addiction is a disease that must be dealt with using clinically-proven methods, it is becoming more common for treatment to be made more readily available; even at a reduced cost if necessary. The government has recently taken action that many hope will make substance abuse treatment more accessible to everyone that needs it, regardless of their financial status.
Resources for Paying for Substance Abuse Treatment
Many people today find that they qualify for government assistance or insurance coverage when it comes to substance abuse treatment. These opportunities for treatment are increasing, as our country’s perception of addiction is changing.
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in the process of being implemented throughout the country. It is thought to be the facilitator of major change when it comes to substance abuse and mental health treatment.
“It will have more far-reaching positive consequences for substance abuse treatment than anything in my lifetime, including the discovery of methadone,” said Dr. Thomas McLellan, who is a former Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “It will integrate substance abuse treatment into the rest of health care.”
Substance abuse treatment under the ACA will become part of primary care, meaning treatment services will be covered for Medicaid and Medicare recipients. Certain other health plans are also required to provide substance abuse treatment coverage under ACA. The ACA aims to help insurance companies focus more on intervention and prevention, promoting routine screenings and prevention methods that would stop an addiction before it begins.
Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act
In addition to the ACA, the government has recently implemented the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which ensures health plans offer the same benefits for mental and behavioral health care as for other chronic illnesses. Under this law, if 90 percent of the costs for treating a disease like diabetes are covered, then 90 percent of the costs of treating an addiction disorder will be covered as well. The new legislation is designed to ensure substance abuse is viewed just like any other disease, at least regarding its treatment costs.
Drug Rehab Loans and Other Financial Assistance for Drug Rehabilitation
Many treatment centers including Vertava Health offer financial assistance to help pay for drug treatment. Drug Rehabilitation Loans are one popular method for receiving assistance.
Other Resources for Affording Treatment
There are those, unfortunately, that still can’t receive coverage for substance abuse treatment. Plenty of obstacles still stand in the way of recovery, including loopholes and rules regulating which employers are required to offer mental and behavioral health care coverage and which ones are not. Other restrictions, including 30 day inpatient coverage maximums, make it difficult for an individual to receive the treatment that will best help them succeed in their recovery. Many who want to get professional treatment and are willing to do what it takes to get sober are still not being given all the resources necessary to help them achieve sobriety.
What should an individual or family do when they do not feel they have the funds to pay for substance abuse treatment? Families should do their homework and find out the cost of the treatment their loved one requires, and then explore all their options for affording treatment. Some treatment centers require partial payment up front, while others offer monthly payment plans. Outpatient treatment is generally less expensive than inpatient treatment. Treatment centers located in upscale neighborhoods will often charge more money for their luxurious accommodations.
Not everyone can afford luxury addiction treatment in the finest locations that offer the best amenities. While these types of facilities are often successful in helping clients overcome addiction, the bells and whistles are not what matter. What successfully changes lives are the compassionate staff and a program that will help clients get to the heart of their addiction and develop the life skills to live a healthy, sober life.
There are other options available for these individuals and many just need to know where to look. According to SAMHSA, nearly two thirds of private, nonprofit treatment facilities in the U.S. offer some type of financial aid, whether it is free treatment, sliding scale fees, or payment assistance. Many facilities are willing to help reduce the cost for treatment, especially when they see a client that is determined to get sober and needs the kind of program the facility can provide. Other facilities might not advertise reduced fees, but are able to work with some individuals on their cost.
Many counties and states offer treatment programs that are publicly funded for those with no other means to pay for treatment. SAMHSA’s website has a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator that allows individuals to search for free or reduced treatment programs. This website is a beneficial resource to any individual or family that is struggling to pay for the cost of treatment.
Relapse Prevention – Long Term Savings
Another costly part of addiction recovery is when relapse occurs. While no one wants to relapse because it means falling back into their life of addiction, needing additional treatment can also be costly.
There are many things individuals can do to reduce their risk of relapsing, the first of which is to stay connected to the recovery community. 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or another support group greatly reduce a person’s risk of relapse. These programs help provide support and motivation to stay sober, and will offer encouragement when a member struggles with the temptation to use again.
Other treatment programs provide clients with long term care, including access to counselors and therapists even after the treatment plan is complete. Others have sober housing options available for individuals that need extra support as they transition back to the real world. Individuals should take advantage of every resource available to them as they complete their treatment plan and get back to their life. Enlisting the help of caring family and friends and being open about temptations and doubts will help keep relapse from occurring.
Affording substance abuse treatment is not always easy, but by making use of the right resources, it is possible. SAMHSA is available to provide information about free or reduced treatment options, and many treatment facilities are willing to work with clients as well. For those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, getting treatment is the only way to get one’s life back again, and overcoming addiction will save the individual and their family from financial and emotional strain in the future.