Addiction and risky substance use constitute the largest preventable and most costly public health problem in the U.S., totaling over $467 billion a year. Yet of every state and federal tax dollar spent on substance use and addiction, less than two cents goes toward prevention and treatment, while 96 cents goes toward addressing the consequences of our failure to prevent and treat the disease.
Recommendations and conclusions
Effectively addressing addiction and risky substance use requires improvements in:
- Prevention and early intervention
- Prevent risky substance use through public education and awareness, school- and community-based programming, and effective regulations that reduce the availability, accessibility and appeal of addictive substances. Intervene early with those at risk via routine screening and therapeutic interventions
- Treatment and disease management
- Provide effective treatment, disease management and support for those with addiction
To accomplish these goals, policies and practices should be based on solid research evidence.