Doctors often ignore addiction in patients

NEW YORK, June 27 (UPI) -- Forty million U.S. teens and adults are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs, but few get treatment, a non-profit group found.

A five-year national study released by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University said another 80 million people are risky substance users -- using tobacco, alcohol and other drugs in ways that threaten health and safety.


The report found 7-in-10 people with diseases like hypertension, major depression and diabetes receive treatment, but only about 1-in-10 people with addiction involving alcohol or other drugs receive treatment.

Of those who do receive treatment, most do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care -- treatment based on the best research.

"This report shows that misconceptions about the disease of addiction are undermining medical care," Drew Altman, president of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, who chaired the report's National Advisory Commission, said in a statement. "The report finds that while doctors routinely screen for a broad range of health problems like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, they rarely screen for risky substance use or signs of addiction and instead treat a long list of health problems that result, including accidents, unintended pregnancies, heart disease, cancers and many other costly conditions without examining the root cause."


The report said physicians and other medical professionals receive little education in addiction science, prevention and treatment, Altman said.

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