In a 2012 survey of Sioux Falls residents, 46% identified alcohol abuse as the top unhealthy behavior in our community, and 33% identified substance abuse (alcohol, drug or prescription use) as a "significant" problem in Sioux Falls.
Substance abuse is among the most costly health problems in the United States, with the annual cost over $510 billion. Specific costs in the United States each year include:
- Alcohol abuse - $191.6 billion.
- Tobacco use - $167.8 billion.
- Drug abuse - $151.4 billion.
To help our residents Live Well, we must treat addiction the same as any other chronic disease.
Understanding and Treating Addiction
Addiction is hard to understand. It is often assumed that people with addictions lack moral principles or willpower. This is an incorrect assumption. Addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than a strong will. Substances like drugs change the brain, so quitting is difficult, even for those who want to quit. Because of research, however, we know more about the brain, and we know that addiction can be successfully treated.
Oftentimes, combining addiction treatment medications with behavioral therapy is helpful for most patients. Individuals can work with a health care provider to create a treatment plan specific to their own needs and that also addresses any other physical or mental health issues.
Just like other chronic diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease, addiction can be managed successfully. And as with other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon for a person to relapse. That does not mean failure. It simply means that treatment should be evaluated or adjusted to help the individual regain control and recover.
Addiction is a preventable disease. Prevention programs that involve families, schools, communities, and the media can be effective in making people more aware about all types of addiction. Education is especially important to help youth and the general public understand the dangers associated with alcohol and drug abuse.