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A new survey aims to answer the age-old question: does drug treatment and rehab work?

The survey shows that (surprise, surprise) drug treatment and rehab does work at bringing a good life to the person in recovery, as well as those who are close to the recovering addict or alcoholic and even the nation at large.

Anyone who has looked for information on how drug addiction and alcoholism ruin lives will know that finding data is anything but difficult. Drug addiction and alcoholism affect a good portion of the population, carry a negative stigma, increase healthcare costs, and increase crime rates. Obviously, it is a problem that needs to be prevented.

Ideally, yes, that would be great; but what about those who turn their lives around as a result of recovery? Isn’t that information just as important?

Of course, with any study, there are bound to be naysayers, and this one is no different. Some question the value that such data can provide, claiming that all it provides is a rosy picture of the world, post-addiction.

Alcoholics and addicts find success in recovery because drug treatment and rehab does work.

Well, isn’t that the point? Addicts and alcoholics achieving long-term sobriety often can tell there is a change, but to have data that verifies these changes are real rather than imaginary have far more value to those who are recovering and for those who just don’t see the point in trying any longer, or those who don’t know what to expect.

Does drug treatment and rehab work for normal people, though? If the data is to be believed, addicts and alcoholics in long-term recovery are more responsible statistically in some areas than the rest of the general population. They pay taxes more often, volunteer in the community more frequently, vote more often, and domestic violence against women fell—all versus the general population’s statistics.

It should be noted, though, that there are hurdles that there are insurmountable odds for alcoholics and addicts to overcome, too. For instance, although the unemployment rate for addicts and alcoholics in recovery is twice that of the general population, that number dropped from an original 40% to around 14%. Given that active addiction and alcoholism prevent many from getting work experience, training, skills, and education necessary for employment, overcoming that deficit by such a high amount is a phenomenal change.

There are some issues with how the data was collected, though. The organization (FAVOR) solicited participation from its own membership and those of like-minded groups. Through their membership in FAVOR, there is an assumption that those participating are generally doing well at that point in their sobriety. Further, it also means most of the participants were white, college-educated, and employed individuals—conditions that are not as prone to discrimination as others.

These considerations still lead many of those would-be detractors to say that the study is a good start, and that such research is necessary to better understand the results that rehab and recovery can provide addicts and alcoholics.

So, what does this mean? It means that it sure isn’t going to hurt if someone is wondering, “Does drug treatment and rehab work?”

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