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Shortage of Arizona Treatment Centers Complicates Drug Battle

  • Shortage of Arizona Treatment Centers Complicates Drug Battle

    Shortage of Arizona Treatment Centers Complicates Drug Battle

    The entire country is struggling under the weight of the the substance abuse epidemic; some states are floundering more than others.

    Cronkite News based in Arizona is bringing light to an overlooked contributor to the state’s struggles with cocaine, meth, heroin, LSD and other drugs: lack of facilities and health care professionals treating substance abuse disorders.

    A recent study suggests there are only 20 professionals per 1,000 substance abuse sufferers. The national average is a ratio of 32 per 1,000, putting Arizona in the fifth lowest ranking for addiction specialist treatment.

    The reason? If you ask Jeff Zornitsky, director of strategic initiatives for Advocates of Human Potential, Inc., it’s because of the high costs of running a treatment center in rural areas of the country, which accounts for much of the state. Federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid offer little by way of reimbursement for services provided in non-urban areas and even in more industrial states. Many addiction treatment centers limit the number of Medicare or Medicaid patients they admit or do not accept either insurance at all because of the low payback.

    This means people with substance abuse disorders are often left to pay for treatment out of pocket which they simply cannot afford.

    On the other end are people who work in the field of substance abuse treatment. Professionals working with addiction treatment centers typically earn less than those in other branches of health care, making specializing in this small portion of the industry unappealing. Due to this lack of professionals in the field, some recovery centers take on too many patients, overloading their staff, and effectively lowering their success rates due to the strain.

    The state of Arizona is in a bad position when it comes to addressing the substance abuse epidemic, and there’s still four states in even worse condition: Florida is in the same boat as Arizona. Indiana, Texas, and Georgia are also in the bottom four, with Nevada earning the spot of lowest addiction treatment availability.

    Do you think state or federal government should be responsible for providing affordable treatment for substance abuse? Let us know what you think below!

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