The fact that drug treatments are available is a positive move in the direction of progress toward a healthier community. When the demand increases among adults for these treatments, one has to ask the question: does this mean that drug use is up or those seeking to stop is increasing?
A recent news piece out of Frederick County reported that the demand for drug addiction services among adults increased by more than 25 percent in the past year. Katherine A. Shriver, Frederick County Health Department Substance Abuse Division director noted that the reason for the increase is likely tied to the economy.
Many of these people are out of work and don’t have insurance. The other possibility is that they might be using more drugs and waiting longer to seek treatment. Either way, numbers are up and the demand is taxing on the county.
While funding has remained somewhat constant, even in light of the slumping economy, many fear that the story could soon change. Anytime the economy goes into a recession, public spending for services typically declines. This could be extremely detrimental for those seeking help.
In fact, law enforcement fears that public funding for addiction services could be cut, resulting in more people on the street. This influx could result in a higher risk of crime, putting more people in harm’s way and denying help to those who really need it.
The public can easily be less sensitive to the needs of the addict and often resist the opportunity to help. Experts point out that ensuring addicts get into treatment is a significant cost savings for taxpayers. Most people don’t know or don’t understand the amount of money it costs to have addicts on the streets. If treatment is available and effective, everyone benefits.