Tuesday, October 11, 2005
A recent CADCA newsletter addressed the progress that has been made regarding alcoholism treatment (http://cadca.org/CoalitionsOnline/article?id=903). Dr. Mark Willenbring, Director of the Division of Treatment and Recovery for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA, discussed his thoughts on the topic. He emphasized the 75% of alcoholics who never receive any sort of treatment or outreach. He shared the problem of primary care physicians not screening for alcoholism and their general reluctance to make a referral to treatment for alcoholism. He also discussed medications which “decrease cravings” for alcohol. He shared his twofold philosophy of treating addiction medically and holistic, emphasizing screening and early intervention as tools to decreasing rates of alcoholism. His website (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/) presents most of this information.
This interview appears to present a well rounded perspective on addiction treatment, appealing to business, education and medical institutions. The importance of education and screening in prevention is clearly evident. The cost of that 75% of untreated alcoholics to are on society is almost incalculable. There is a continuing need for advocacy such as CADCA’s.