Letter to The Philadelphia Inquirer
October 21, 2012
Your October 14 editorial, ‘Drug treatment too hard to get in New Jersey' is an important and much needed observation of an issue facing New Jersey. But, we best appreciate the enormous gap between the need for effective addiction treatment and its actual availability, not only across the Delaware, but nationwide.
We must understand addiction to be a disease, not unlike other troubling disorders such as a clinical depression or a debilitating anxiety disorder, whose most striking characteristic is its extraordinary disruption of basic brain functioning. We must also understand that it is a clinical disorder that affects some 40 million Americans to one degree or another.
And, we know that it is a wholly preventable disorder. But, where evident it is treatable through appropriate access to quality medical treatment and appropriate supportive services.
Unfortunately only about 1 in 10 people with this disorder actually get any form of treatment, and of those who do receive treatment, few receive evidence-based medical and supportive care.
The time has come to close the gap in addiction treatment once and for all and treat and manage addiction as we do all other health conditions. Not only in New Jersey, but throughout the nation.
William H. Foster, PhD
President and CEO
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia)