A cool morning conversation with a case worker outside of C.O.P.E’s downtown treatment facility in Tucson this morning led to some interesting questions. We’re talking about the world of addiction and recovery. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation RWJF, took part in an HBO film series about addiction that can shed some insight. There are 8 million narcotic, cocaine and methamphetamine addicts on the streets of America at any given time and as a totality of all drug and alcohol addiction that figure soars to 23 million people struggling as we speak. That’s an alarming world of dysfunction and suffering. Of these individuals, fewer than 10% are receiving effective treatment. These figures come from NIDA and RWJF.
C.O.P.E. has earned exceptional credit in helping those who arrive at their door step. To ask about the majority that don’t make it is another story. The easy answer lies solely with the addict. When they are ready; they show up. What about those 20 or so million addicts and alcoholics not receiving treatment and the impact that has on families and communities. That’s the intimidating reality that poses the hard question. Realizing the patches on our recovery boats are not holding is a scary thought. The seas of addiction are rough. America needs a new fleet of sea worthy recovery vessels. What that will take is a 21st century question pointing to new paradigms that we haven’t invented yet. The impact is real. The needs are real. America is worth every ounce of effort.