Acting White House Drug Policy Director Cites “Treatment Gap”


As part of a series this week titled, “Hooked: America’s Heroin Epidemic,” NBC News tells the story of two addicted suburban St. Louis brothers that “illustrates the challenges facing many who struggle with heroin addiction — lack of insurance coverage for treatment, difficulties accessing services, and short-term fixes that don't seem to make a dent in a disease that is often a life-long battle.” Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy cites a “treatment gap” between those who want treatment for substance abuse and those who actually enroll in treatment programs.

“Only one in 10 people who need treatment actually get it,” Botticelli said, citing the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Barriers include lack of insurance and under-insurance. In addition, historically many areas didn’t approve of treatment facilities being located in their communities. That means there are fewer clinics to serve the demand for treatment in many parts of the country. In Vermont, clinics report long waiting lists. In rural Maine, people drive for hours to get to the nearest methadone clinic.

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