Depending on who you talk to,  the percentage of drug addicts with serious mental  illness is as much as 53%.  That figure is from the  National Alliance on Mental Illness It is a subject that  flies in the face of state policies that define where publicly funded  psychiatric intervention can apply, which is often reserved for those who are a threat to themselves or others.  According to Dr. Glen Hanson,  drug addicts can initially mask mental health issues and later make them a lot worse.   What makes this so hard for families, is that state policies that mandate psychiatric evaluation are set up to define mental illness in a vacuum.  Drug addiction is a whole other issue.  It is defined as a self-inflicted condition based on an individuals choice.  Treatment for addiction is illusive at best.   But really came first the chicken or the egg; the addiction or the mental illness?  In the U.S., there is an estimated 5 million adolescents that suffer from clinical depression. Does this mean that these adolescents will soon make up 2.65 million more drug addicts?  Scary thought!  Mental illness is basically under diagnosed, while drug addiction stymies the efforts of parents wanting to save their kids and can’t afford specialized care; care that insurance companies have so craftily excluded from most policies.