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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Letters - Treating Alcohol And Drug Use Disorders

Brendan Saloner and Benjamin Lê Cook (Jan 2013) provide an important analysis showing poor completion rates in contemporary treatment services for alcohol and drug use disorders. To address racial and ethnic discrepancies in treatment completion, they note the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and recommend that Medicaid cover residential treatment so residential care can increase.

That expansion, unfortunately, would reinforce the stigma associated with treatment for alcohol and drug use disorders, further the segregation of addiction treatment from medical care, and fail to take advantage of emerging evidence-based treatments for these disorders. States should use the Affordable Care Act to build systems of care for the twenty-first century rather than relying on antiquated care models.

States need to improve systems of care for everyone. Addiction is a chronic disorder that requires ongoing ambulatory care management.1 When fully implemented, the Affordable Care Act can promote integrated treatment for alcohol and drug use disorders within primary care medical homes. The act will increase access to therapists with graduate training and physicians trained in the use of pharmacotherapy.  > > > >  Read More