Drug and alcohol addiction is on a level now the likes of which have never been seen before in the United States. In fact, in 2010 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) went so far as to say that:
• “Drug abuse and alcohol abuse and the general problem of addiction has now, for the first time ever in the history of the nation, exceeded the level of being a crisis and has advanced to the level of being a full on epidemic.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) both came together to say that:
• “Addiction is getting worse, not getting better. For every person who gets rehabilitated from addiction, two or three more become addicted. For every drug bust that occurs, twice as many drugs come over the border into the nation. For every person saved from an overdose in the ER, two more die on the streets. This is a terrifying issue that warrants nationwide concern and address.”
In times like these, drastic and major action needs to be taken to erect change and create a new effort and a whole new method of addressing these problems that will be effective. One such method is the utilizing of free, non-profit, 24/7 online addiction help hotlines.
How San Diego is Making Big Changes
Of all places, San Diego, California has begun to make pretty big changes in reversing the damage caused by drug and alcohol addiction. One of the ways drug users look for help is through a program called “2-1-1 San Diego”, a nonprofit that connects callers countywide with social service providers that can provide immediate help for the callers. Just in the last year for example, this hotline received calls from almost 3,200 individuals seeking help with substance abuse, and every single one of those callers was helped with their addiction problem.
What’s really beneficial about this specific hotline is that it helps in more than one area. The truth is, addicts need help with a lot of things, not just addiction, and callers to this hotline often have more than one need, including more than one substance abuse problem to boot. For example, a caller might ask for help with alcoholism, a heroin addiction and getting a job all in one call; the hotline specializes in being able to help with all of those crisis issues.
The big problem of course is with addiction. Unsurprisingly, for clients looking for help with drug addiction and alcoholism, 71 percent of all their needs are related directly to substance abuse and substance abuse alone. This is what the hotline specializes in. Representatives at the hotline said that substance abuse tends to be “a very high primary need,” meaning it’s at the top of people’s minds when they call in and seek help. When the call volume and the individual calls are examined though, that’s not the only issue these clients face. Looking at the remaining 29 percent of needs, one third were for housing and shelter, and another third were related to mental health care, and almost all of them had something to do with employment too.
Utilizing this Approach All Across the Nation
This one program in San Diego has proven to be immensely effective, and it is only a matter of time before other programs take up the mantle too and begin to really expand upon this commitment. The nation is currently very desperate for solutions to the ever present drug problem, and this is probably the first real solution that it has seen in years. Addiction help hotlines are thought to be the future of addiction treatment and are hoped to do nothing but expand and increase their benefits to more and more people all across the nation. With the dawn of the information age, these hotlines are an untapped resource whose true power and potential is only recently being discovered as being absolutely monumental.
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