Drug addiction is a chronic disease. The Mayo Clinic defines it as “a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug.” Despite this somber but truthful definition, it is a preventable and treatable disease that affected almost 20 million adult Americans in 2017, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. 

However, despite this 70,000 overdose deaths occur annually in the U.S., according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. Drug addiction costs the economy over $250 billion a year in lost productivity, healthcare costs, crime prevention in addition to other costs. Less than 20 percent of those affected receive treatment as a facility, like a drug rehab Austin.

Understanding the barriers to treatment is key in understanding why it is still not readily accessible, despite the obvious advantages that treatment would bring. Keep in mind that addiction does not affect everyone equally and that some demographics are more likely to succumb to a Substance Abuse Disorder than others. However, education is key to demystifying the process and creating greater acceptance of the fact that drug addiction is a disease that can lead to more people receiving the help they need.

This being said, the major barriers that prevent patients from receiving treatment can be identified as:

  • Social Stigma
  • Affordability
  • Lack of Access and Education

Social Stigma

Social stigma is undoubtedly associated with those who suffer from a Substance Abuse Disorder. The public and those in the healthcare profession could suffer from the mistaken and outdated belief that addiction is solely the fault of the patient. This perpetuates a narrative that deters a lot of people from seeking the help they need. Patients might choose to avoid all the shame and judgment and forgo treatment, leading to them being trapped with their disease. This can also lead to those suffering from other conditions alongside addiction, such as mental illnesses, from seeking help. This just prolongs the suffering of the patients and addictions effect on our society.


Lack of insurance or the ability to afford care is another major barrier to seeking help. The average cost of an in-patient program at a rehab facility can range from $6,000 to $20,000 dollars. In 2013, over 35 percent of individuals who reached out for help for a Substance Abuse Disorder were discouraged due to the cost. Despite this, the cost of detox programs, such as drug detox Austin, can be as low as $1,000. Many facilities do accept Medicaid and other forms of government insurance, although this is dependent on the clinic and length of the program.

Lack of Access and Education

Geography plays a huge part in access to treatment. According to American Addiction Centers, 92 percent of treatment facilities are located in urban areas. Rural communities suffer from a clear availability to treatment for Substance Abuse Disorders. States with higher populations, like California, New York, Illinois are disproportionately more likely to have a higher concentration of treatment centers per capita than more rural states, like Vermont, which in 2016 had only 61 treatment centers. This lack of access eventually translates into a disparity when it comes to awareness and education about these treatment facilities.

Education is key in overcoming the barriers that prevent patients from seeking the help they need. Treatment centers may vary in their success rate, but they are the obvious choice when it comes to choosing whether to give people access to treatment or let them suffer from a treatable disease. If you or your loved one needs help, a detox center, like drug detox Austin tx, could be your first step towards sobriety.






Categorized in: