Addiction is a complex Brain Disease not a moral weakness, lack of willpower or character defect and encompasses alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling, eating, sex and even exercise.
There are 40M diagnosed with addiction and another 80M risky Users
Current treatment regimens lack cutting edge science and technology with minimal evidence based support for their validity or reliability in successful treatment outcomes. Hence 60% relapse within 6 months. And this result has persisted since 1980. Addiction is a growing problem averaging 7% compound annual growth rate with 40 Million diagnosed with addiction in the US and another 80 Million risky users. This amounts to nearly 30% of Americans
Addiction kills more people ANNUALLY than were killed in the entire Vietnam War
Addiction causes other diseases which eventually causes death to addict and alcoholics. And the death certificate does not often list addiction but rather its medical consequence
This disease costs taxpayers in the United States an estimated $1Trillion annually due to accidental medical deaths, violence leading to injury or death, child and spousal abuse, car accidents, lawyers, accountants, and many other addiction related causes
Most of this money goes to the Judicial system not to treatment
Jail cells now “treat” many patients with addiction as well as any accompanying psychiatric disorder. With some unintended negative consequences
Despite great progress since the late 60’s more work needs to be directed to bringing cutting edge science into the treatment paradigm if addiction treatment is to progress as has cancer, heart disease and many other purely medical disorders of other organs in the body.
What is our plan?
AMI will to some extent follow the City of Hope model for cancer. This anticipates hard research in collaboration with a medical campus on the brain and other organs impacted by addiction. We will have a multidisciplinary medical panel which will create strategic alliances with biotech, medical device, neuroscience, genetic and Pharma companies seeking new and improved technologies to treat addicted patients. And eventually conduct clinical trials with selected treatment centers to gauge their effectiveness in improving patient treatment outcomes.
The field of Addiction has been discriminated against since the 1920’s. MD training for many decades and even today has very little emphasis on addiction. Insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield did not even cover treatment for it until 1980 when Dr. Ed Carels helped enable the American Medical Association, World Health Association, and key Senators to pressure insurance companies and the National Association of Insurance Companies to demand the insurance industry start covering addiction like any killer disease. They did.
Even before that the National Institute of Health was created by Roosevelt in 1938, Its mission was to provide Federal Funding to seek cures for varied diseases. The National Cancer Institute was started by President Nixon in 1973. Its mandate was to seek a cure for cancer. Yet we have no cure for cancer despite some significant progress has been made. The total budget for research for 2017 at NIH was $32.3 Billion. Clearly, the largest appropriation is still for cancer with $5.4 Billion. Yet, the annual 2017 budget at NIH for National Institute of Alcoholism and Addiction was only $483 Million while the budget for the national Institute of Drug Abuse was around $1 Billion.
The addiction field is still way underfunded by NIH and private charity in comparison to cancer and other less stigmatizing illnesses. As a result of this and other pervasive attitudes by most Americans that addiction is not a disease but a lack of willpower and or a character defect, an explosion of small non profit Foundations have been created to largely help pay with “scholarships” money to send an addict or alcoholic to a nearby treatment center.
These small charitable Foundations are devoted primarily to raising donations to help patients in need of addiction treatment without financial means to be provided Financial “scholarships” for free treatment in a facility which takes donations. This is helping many no doubt. However, the problem is that this is not helping improve the outcomes for patients with scientifically valid new treatments. Its time a private non profit charity help get donations to seek scientifically valid treatments like other diseases are. Any donation made will be Federally tax deductible with our 501C3 status.