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How Treatment and Coverage of Drug and Alcohol Addiction is Changing

Credit: Alan Cleaver / Flickr / Creative Commons
Credit: Alan Cleaver / Flickr / Creative Commons

A quarter of all Americans will deal with a substance abuse issue at some point in their lives. Of those, only about 11-percent will get treatment. The Affordable Care Act may change that. It requires that all insurance plans cover treatment for substance abuse.

One in four Americans will deal with an alcohol or substance abuse problem at some point in their lives, according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The Affordable Care Act states these addictions are chronic diseases, and that treatment must be covered by insurance plans. That means many people who couldn’t afford substance abuse treatment before may be covered come January 1st.

The Washington Post reported last fall that the University of Maryland Medical Center here in Baltimore is one of ten that agreed to train 28 more specialists in addiction care. But, that money was found for only half of those slots.

Sheilah speaks with Bryce Hudak, the clinical coordinator for Recovery Network, an addiction treatment center in Baltimore and Carl Lejuez, the Director of the Center for Addictions, Personality, and Emotion Research at the University of Maryland, College Park, about how the Affordable Care Act changes how drug and alcohol dependency is being seen, treated and covered.

Produced by Stephanie Hughes.

Our series ‘The Checkup: How Health Care Is Changing in Maryland’ is made possible by grants from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the Baltimore Association of Health Underwriters, and HealthCare Access Maryland.