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Americans want insurance to cover addiction;
unsure if it does

CENTER CITY, Minn., February 3, 2009 --  Nearly three out of four Americans
(71 percent) agree that health insurance should cover the cost of addiction treatment - yet most consumers have no idea if their own health insurance would pay for substance abuse treatment, according to the first-ever "Public Attitudes Toward Addiction Survey" from Hazelden, the national nonprofit organization that helps people reclaim their lives from drug addiction.

With the passage of the U.S. Mental Health Parity Law last October and the Obama administration now designing its agenda on healthcare issues, it's striking that most Americans (77 percent) agree that addiction treatment should be part of healthcare reform. Hazelden's new survey also found that: most Americans (78 percent ) understand that drug addiction is a chronic disease rather than a personal failing; and more than half (56 percent) say their company doesn't have an Employee Assistance Program to help employees deal with problems involving alcohol or other drugs.

Addiction Still Widespread in American Families

Among the most dramatic of Hazelden's survey findings was the prevalence of addiction within American families:

Drug "War" Not Working, Support for Prevention/Treatment 

Stigma of Addiction Still an Obstacle to Healing

"What Hazelden's new survey brought home to me is that Americans understand addiction is a disease, yet much more work must be done to explain how effective treatment can be for addicts and to bring an end to the stigma that prevents addicts from pursuing treatment," says William Cope Moyers, executive director of Hazelden's Center for Public Advocacy. "We also learned that 58 percent would like more of this discussion about addiction to be done in public." Accordingly, Moyers says the "Attitudes Toward Addiction Survey" has become the catalyst for a 2009 public advocacy campaign that Hazelden will soon launch in Washington, D.C., and across the country. 

"Hazelden's Center for Public Advocacy is dedicated to changing public perceptions about addiction and promoting public policy that puts recovery within reach of all who need it," said Mark Mishek, president and CEO of Hazelden. "The good news is - effective treatment for addiction exists, people in recovery lead useful lives and insurance could, and should, cover addiction treatment. Let's work together to help improve public understanding of America's No. 1 health problem - addiction to alcohol and other drugs."

About the Addiction Survey

This addiction attitude survey, conducted by telephone for Hazelden, polled a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

Study Results2008 National Study of Public Attitudes toward Addiction

About Hazelden

Hazelden, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1949, helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. Built on decades of knowledge and experience, Hazelden offers a comprehensive approach to addiction that addresses the full range of patient, family, and professional needs, including treatment and continuing care for youth and adults, research, higher education, public advocacy, and publishing. Hazelden has facilities in Minnesota, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Florida.

Hazelden is committed to protecting the privacy of people who participate in Hazelden programs and abides by all applicable federal and state laws that protect such confidentiality.

 
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