Not New York City, not Los Angeles and not Chicago! It is Sioux Falls South Dakota that has an organization in the forefront of helping business, communities and the taxpayer understand the growing costs of the drug epidemic in our country. Thanks to Charlie Day and Kevin Kirby, Face It Together has put together a working plan for business and community leaders around the country. http://www.wefaceittogether.org/ The radio show has long waited for an organization in the country that has the insight and creativity to bring business to the forefront of creating solutions to the nation’s largest health crisis.
“Public policy” has had little success at helping curtail the growing costs from drug misuse. Face It Together believes in private sector solutions and has created a program to both help business save money and help communities become proactive in stopping the human and economic destruction substance abuse is creating in too many families and beyond.
Radio show guest writer Erich Curnow from Examiner.com has summarized it best on the economic damage to our country. “Estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States, including productivity and health- and crime-related costs, exceed $600 billion annually. This includes approximately $181 billion for illicit drugs,$193 billion for tobacco, and $235 billion for alcohol.” http://www.examiner.com/article/pennsylvania-politicos-pushing-our-collective-luck-with-budget-reduction
In comparison, the National Institute of Health estimated the overall costs from cancer to be almost $227 billion in 2007. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerBasics/economic-impact-of-cancer
In the recently released March 2012 report from The Office of Drug Control Policy, it is estimated that over 23 million people are in need of “specialized treatment for a substance use disorder” and a small percentage of people are receiving the help they need. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/2012_ndcs.pdf
The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) “will expand access to substance use disorder treatment and help establish it as part of main stream health care systems.” “When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, millions more Americans will have coverage”.
In other words, America’s business and taxpayer are facing billions of dollars in direct costs for treatment and recovery. Ironically, this is a bargain. Both Erich Curnow and The Office of Drug Policy site 7:1 costs savings of treating addiction over allowing the status quo.
My congratulations to Face It Together in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for bringing a program and plan to America’s business community to confront addiction.
After reading this, every CEO and Human Resource VP should be picking up the phone to call Face It Together.