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Long term abstinence significantly reduces risk of mortality

Sometimes drug addiction can be viewed as a massive burden on society, and this can be the reason behind government initiatives to tackle the 'war on drugs'.  Undoubtedly drug addiction does have a big cost on society, individuals suffering from addiction utilise a lot of resources, including health and social care services, and justice systems.  But while the costs to society may be financially large, when looked at from a more human perspective, this is not the most important problem posed by drug use; the bigger worry is the huge loss of life it can cause.

Drug addiction sufferers who do not receive help have relatively high mortality rates compared to the general population, and the loss of life is such a waste, especially when we consider that there are things that can be done to help.  However, this also raises issues, as treatments for addictions are expensive making them hard to access in some areas, and for some individuals they are unwilling to accept help for their addiction, and this choice can prove fatal.

Researchers have investigated the mortality rates amongst addiction sufferers, and in some ways more important, the survival rates as well.  Studies have found that individuals who are of an older age and have health problems alongside their addiction had the highest mortality rates, but individuals who sought out treatment for their addiction, and were able to sustain long term abstinence after treatment had significantly reduced risk of mortality (Scott et al., 2010).  These results show how important it can be to access help for a drug addiction, but it also important that such information is made public knowledge to help encourage individuals suffering from addiction to seek help to save their lives.

While the cost to society is great as a result of drug addiction, the cost to human life is arguably more important and for those who chose to access rehab drug addiction can become a distant memory and they can finally begin to move on.



Scott et al.  (2010).  Surviving drug addiction: the effect of treatment and abstinence on mortality.  American Journal of Public Health, 101, 737-744.

Published by on 14/09/2020.

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