Today is a significant day in Georgia for members of the recovery community. It’s Addiction Recovery Awareness Day at the State Capitol. Each year, the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse and other organizations sponsor a day of advocacy at the Capitol. Substance abuse professionals, advocates, and peers from around the state join together to promote the message of recovery.
This year advocates are likely to be pointing out some of the findings of the 2013 Faces & Voices of Recovery, “Life in Recovery” Survey. The survey found, among other facts, that individuals in recovery experience:
- A ten-fold decrease in involvement in the criminal justice system.
- A ten-fold decrease in the use of costly ER services.
- A 50% increase in participation in family activities.
- A 50% increase in paying taxes.
If we just consider the importance of addiction recovery from a financial perspective, the facts are compelling. Addiction costs us over $400 billion each year in the U.S. But for every dollar that is invested in substance abuse treatment, taxpayers get a return of $7.46 in reduced costs to society.
Of course, the costs of addiction are not just financial. Substance abuse leads to breakdowns in health, family life, employment, and society.
Putting greater efforts into recovery for individuals with addiction problems is certainly worth strong advocacy at the capitol today. But let’s also remember that prevention efforts can pay even greater dividends. Research has found that students in grades 7-12 who learn about the dangers of drug abuse at home are as much as 50% less likely to misuse substances. Delaying alcohol or drug use also has benefits. Those who begin to drink in adulthood, for example, are much less likely to develop a substance abuse problems than those who begin before the age of 21.
Prevention and recovery – two sides of combating addiction. Today, there are over 23 million individuals in the U.S. who are living in recovery from a substance abuse problem or addictive disease. Treatment works. Recovery does happen. It’s a message we always remember at Perry Wellness Center, and one we hope you will remember, too.