May 29, 2013
NC House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services
Honorable Subcommittee Member:
North Carolina Consumer Advocacy, Networking, and Support Organization is a state-wide advocacy organization comprised of people who have lived with mental illness and substance addiction. Many of us have had sustained periods of recovery and have dedicated our health and effort to making life better for our peers by promoting a focus on recovery and self-responsibility.
Because of this, we are opposed to the proposed closure of our substance abuse treatment centers and the potential of further decreasing substance abuse treatment funds in order to pay for treatment availability in community hospitals.
Historically, our state has not dedicated the resources to treatment for people with addiction or addiction occurring with mental illness that many other states have. We have stood on outdated and unsupported ideas about addiction, yet years of research identify the factors that result in addiction versus mere substance misuse. NC CANSO believes, then, that our state has a responsibility to ensure treatment access, quality, and accountability to North Carolinians with addiction problems.
Further, many individuals served in the ADACTS also have a mental health problem–often schizophrenia, bipolar mood disorder, or serious depression. According to statistics provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Washington, 25.7 percent of all adults with serious mental illness have co-occurring substance dependence. That is 4 percent of all adults in our country. Yet some people have not had their mental health properly recognized or treated until they have gone to ADACT treatment because the addiction related problems are often recognized before the mental health problems.
Finally, people with addiction or addiction and mental illness have the highest levels of co-morbid chronic physical disease related to substances they have used and to lifestyle. Funds used for addiction treatment may yield tremendous savings later in an individual’s life as people recover and their lifestyles change.
We urge the legislature to continue funding of the ADACTS as they are as such intensive treatment cannot be had in community hospital settings. Further, we ask that this legislature not reduce any of the funds utilized for treating persons with addiction. Addiction is a serious and painful illness and it calls for courage and support to overcome it. We must not disregard the needs of North Carolinians who need addiction treatment.