Addiction impacts all communities and all stakeholder groups. The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic, while more people die of problems related to alcohol and tobacco use.

Addiction in the Workplace
Employers face an inadequate sober workforce, high absenteeism and presenteeism, and escalating health care costs with too many payments directed at ineffective care and too few dollars focused on evidence-based care. Human Relations departments find that their Employee Assistance Programs, Worker’s Compensation Plans, and employees are often in need of education about the substance misuse and addiction. Without this, they cannot seek, design, or deliver appropriate interventions.

Health Care
Health Care systems, both including medical-surgical and behavioral health, are overwhelmed with the sequellae of addiction. Emergency departments, intensive care units, psychiatric facilities, and primary care providers – all are under strain from lack of programs to target overdose; cardiac, orthopedic, and other infections due to intravenous drug use; and an inability of patients to manage their medical and psychiatric conditions when in the throes of active addiction.

Policymakers are often presented with differing opinions on effective interventions. But with the same approach used for other chronic diseases, including reliance on scientific evidence, useful paths forward then become clear.

Without understanding the basics facts about substance misuse and the disease of addiction, it is impossible to engage in appropriate plans to prevent, diagnose, and treat to remission so that a person can live their best lives, which is what is called recovery. Medically and cost-effective programs can only stand on a basic and factual understanding this disease, the scientific underpinnings of effective prevention and treatment, the goals of treatment, and the elements of quality care.