Only about 10 percent of the 23 million Americans with alcohol or drug problems receive addiction treatment, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Approximately one quarter of those battling addiction are also uninsured.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year by the U.S. government to thwart drug traffic coming into the country and incarcerating drug producers, distributors and users.  Yet only one cent of every healthcare dollar in the United States goes toward addiction, and few alcoholics and drug addicts receive treatment. That is all about to change.

Substance Treatment in Place of Incarceration

After decades of failed drug policies and billions of dollars spent on law enforcement by previous administrations, the Obama Administration recently announced a fresh approach to the “War on Drugs,” which focuses less on war and more on drug and alcohol abuse treatment. The White House supports alternatives to incarceration, including drug courts, diversion programs, enhanced probation and parole programs as well as other supervised strategies that include community-based treatment and services.

Additional funding and new policies included in the Affordable Care Act expand the mental health and substance use disorder benefits, making it a key element in the Obama Administration’s approach to the drug policy in the United States.The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy stated that it no longer sees the nation’s drug problem as a criminal justice matter, but rather as a public issue. White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske also indicated that the Obama Administration might be open to a long overdue shift from law enforcement to substance abuse treatment, as stated in the new policy proposal on the “war on drugs.” “We’ve relied far too long on the criminal justice system,” says Kerlikowske.  “We cannot arrest or incarcerate our way out of the drug problem.”

Who Gets What from the Affordable Care Act?

the White House in Washington DCResearch shows that addiction is a disease from which people can recover, with similar success rates as treating other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension. Based on this scientific data, the Obama Administration is taking unprecedented action to expand access to substance abuse treatment for millions of Americans. Research also shows that timing is essential. If you participate in a drug rehab program early on in your addiction, you are likely to see a benefit. However, the benefits of treatment are not as substantial the longer you wait to seek help.

The Affordable Care Act ends discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, including people with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Many people who wanted help and made an effort to get it shared common barriers of either not being able to afford the insurance or their insurance did not cover substance abuse treatment. With The Affordable Care Act, 62.5 million people will receive expanded substance abuse benefits by 2020, with 32.1 million people gaining these benefits for the first time.

What does this Drug Policy Mean to Me?

  • Guaranteed insurance coverage for drug and alcohol abuse treatment
  • More addiction treatment facilities to offer assistance
  • Receive timely treatment to recovery
  • Improvements in quality of life with family and friends
  • Receive assistance in employment/education status, housing stability
  • Residential and outpatient treatment

To learn more about the new provisions of drug and alcohol treatment under the Affordable Care Act, click here.

Cornerstone Recovery Center is a premiere residential drug rehabilitation, outpatient and aftercare treatment program provider located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We accept all major insurance, including Aetna, Blue Cross, Cigna,

United Behavioral Health and United Healthcare. For a free consultation, call us toll-free at (888) 711-0354, or visit to chat with a recovery specialist, or click here to submit an online inquiry.