The goal of drug rehab is to return the individual to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. Drug treatment reduces drug use by 40 to 60 percent and significantly decreases criminal activity during and after treatment. Research shows that drug rehab reduces the risk of HIV infection and that interventions to prevent HIV are much less costly than treating HIV-related illnesses. Drug injectors who do not enter treatment are up to six times more likely to become infected with HIV than injectors who enter and remain in treatment. Rehab can improve the prospects for employment, with gains of up to 40 percent after a single treatment episode. Although these effectiveness rates hold in general, individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s presenting problems, the appropriateness of the rehab program components and related services used to address those problems, and the degree of active engagement of the patient in the treatment process.
According to the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use & Health, (NSDUH), it is estimated that 22.8 million Americans (9.7% of the total population) were in need of treatment for an alcohol or illicit drug problem. Of those needing treatment, 20.5 million persons (8.7 percent of the total population) did not receive treatment at a drug rehab. Of the 20.5 million people who needed but did not receive treatment in 2002, an estimated 1.2 million (5.8 percent) reported that they felt they needed treatment for their alcohol or drug problem. Of the 1.2 million persons who felt they needed treatment, 446,000 (37.5 percent) reported that they made an effort but were unable to get treatment and 744,000 (62.5 percent) reported making no effort to get treatment. There were 2.3 million youths aged 12 to 17 (9.1 percent of this population) who needed treatment for an alcohol or illicit drug problem in 2002. Of this group, only 186,000 youths received treatment (8.2 percent of youths who needed treatment), leaving an estimated 2.1 million youths who needed but did not receive treatment for a substance abuse problem.
The NSDUH shows an increase in the use of cocaine, heroin, nonmedical use of pain relievers and nonmedical use of stimulants from 2001. As the illicit use of drugs continues to rise, so does the need for more quality, effective drug rehabs in the US.