Everybody knows that drugs are harmful, but few dive deep enough to see how universal the issue of drug abuse is. It touches every aspect of a person’s life, including family, relationships with friends and colleagues, work, education, and personal mental health.
Addiction has a detrimental effect on society as well, contributing to higher crime rates, reduced public welfare, and overcrowding in medical institutions and prisons. Yet, only as little as 11% of those who are addicted seek and receive treatment.
While the reasons for refraining from getting help vary, the most common factors are the fear of social rejection and financial inability to pay for rehab. Private facilities that provide assistance on detox and subsequent rehabilitation, including various forms of therapy and necessary medication, often result in significant expenses, especially if a person is willing to choose inpatient treatment. To counter this, government-funded addiction treatment centers offer free rehab to the addicted.
Obstacles on the road to rehabilitation
In 2014, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a report, stating that 22.5 million people aged 12 or older were in need of treatment for a condition related to drug or alcohol addiction. Only 2.6 million of those people received help at a treatment facility. Thus it can be seen that nearly 20 million people, or approximately 88.8%, didn’t seek treatment or were unable to access it.
That number remains so high for several reasons. Although modern society is making progress on being supportive and accepting of other people’s issues, drug addiction is still surrounded by numerous stereotypes that frequently discourage people from getting the help they need. For many, social stigma is a reason to remain silent and hide the abuse for years. A person may feel like seeking treatment is a weak and undignified solution that will damage their image, relationships or position, when in fact addiction bears much greater influence on all those aspects of life.
Another reason for deciding against treatment is financial problems. Not being able to pay for rehab or having no health insurance can be a significant obstruction on the way to recovery, even for those who acknowledge the need for getting treatment. And while drug addiction can be a threat to anyone regardless of the background, statistically, drug abuse is more common among the unemployed, the lower class and those beyond the poverty line. Fortunately but unknown to many people, there are rehab programs funded by the state government that has a purpose of helping people tackle financial problems and get the necessary help regardless of their level of income.
In addition, some people may feel uncomfortable receiving assistance from state-funded rehabilitation centers even though they acknowledge the need for treatment. It’s important to remember that there is no shame in getting help where it is available, and people should avoid lingering over enrolling in a rehab program.
Benefits and drawbacks of state-funded rehab
State-funded recovery programs target those who cannot pay for rehabilitation due to the lack of money or absence of a health insurance plan. They aim to provide an affordable alternative to private rehabilitation centers. Naturally, these clinics receive funding from the state government and as a result, can provide different services and different levels of care. Although there are certain inconveniences brought by limited financing, state-funded programs focus on enabling everyone to get addiction treatment free of charge and offer a clear path to recovery.
What are the pros?
The main advantage of state-funded rehab is its cost. Most of the programs are free for everyone who qualifies for them. Some are based on the person’s income, meaning that the potential patient has to show proof of their inability to pay for the treatment. The fee will then be determined for them, based on their financial situation. Government-funded clinics don’t seek profit and usually offer various payment plans to accommodate everyone in need.
The benefits of availability don’t end with money, however. Although state-funded rehab centers might not have the quality of private facilities, their affordability helps many people take the first step towards becoming drug-free. It is important because drug abuse only gets worse over time, and starting treatment early results in better chances of achieving full recovery and lower relapse rates.
What are the cons?
After a person qualifies for a program, they are put on the waiting list. Since state-funded rehab is free of charge, the wait to get admitted can stretch for more than six months. The motivation to get treatment is usually triggered by such unpleasant factors as having massive debt, being alienated from the family or losing your job, and hence it’s quite fragile. Consequently, the wait is a significant drawback, since the person will have to be convinced to enroll all over again.
Another major disadvantage is the lack of privacy. Most people struggle to share information about their addiction with their closest friends, and it’s only harder when it comes to a government institution. This, along with the unsettling lack of knowledge about who they might encounter in rehabilitation, can deter people from getting treatment.
Finally, state-funded treatment centers have limited capacity and while it may seem like a minor inconvenience, it can sometimes result in patients being released from the facility earlier than they complete their treatment. In addition, such clinics may rely on outdated techniques that still bring patients certain benefits but are less effective than complex programs at private facilities.
The bottom line
Treatment for drug addiction can be quite expensive. For many people who are single parents, live in poverty, have families or are unemployed, the need to pay for treatment is the greatest obstacle on the way to recovery. Substance abuse drives a person to spend more and more on drugs, distancing them from rehabilitation and contributing to the emergence of shame, guilt, and other self-destructive feelings.
State-funded rehab facilities offer free treatment programs to those who are unable to pay for them. This way, rehabilitation becomes affordable for everyone. Although there are certain limitations in the level of care and the number of available services, government-funded rehab is a good option for those who need addiction treatment and postpone it because of financial problems. After all, when it comes to drugs, any professional medical help is better than no help at all.
About the author
Thanush Poulsen in a Danish columnist who closely investigates the US healthcare system, particularly the realm which refers to the drug abuse and drug rehabilitation. He aims to figure out to what extent the government support and take care of those addicted who cannot afford private rehabilitation.