Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy
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Addiction is a chronic health condition that affects 40 percent of the American public. It costs society about $600 billion
annually, is responsible for 25% of all hospital admissions, and is implicated in 80% of incarcerations. Of the estimated
23-25 million people who need addiction treatment, about 2.5 million (10%) receive it. Stigma, insurance barriers, and the
perception by many that they don’t have a problem have limited access to care. Efforts to reduce stigma through awareness
programs, the 2008 Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act, and the influx of newly insured patients through the ACA have
sparked investor interest and led to rapid growth of inpatient rehabilitation programs.
However, despite wider acceptance of addiction as a chronic brain disorder, treatment systems continue to be developed
and defined by an emphasis on acute, time-limited treatments. For more than forty years, addiction treatment has been
defined and judged by this misplaced perception that a fixed duration of treatment will “fix the problem”. Patients and families
have been led to believe that a month in rehab would “take care of the problem”.
This fragmented approach fails to provide the life-long management necessary to ensure sustained remission. The greatly
underemphasized problem is the absence of substantial and comprehensive community based continuing care and the paucity
of prevention, early identification and intervention efforts. Relegating follow-up care, prevention and early intervention to the
sidelines contradicts the standard treatment of chronic disease. New ideas, innovative service delivery methods, alternative
clinical interventions, and technological supports are not robustly developed, tested, and integrated.
It is time for a new vision that addresses addiction as the chronic disease it is. This workshop will describe an approach that
incorporates prevention, early intervention, and extended engagement with traditional models of care to create a seamless,
integrated system of care that addresses addiction as a chronic condition that can produce more favorable long term outcomes.
Tamasi is President of Gosnold on Cape Cod with over forty years of experience developing and managing treatment, intervention, and prevention services. He has been recognized nationally for the development of innovative approaches and programs. He is a frequent speaker on issues of policy and a redefining of the addiction treatment and prevention system. He is a recent recipient of the National Council on Behavioral Health’s Visionary Leadership award. He is a member of the Board of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment, the Cape Cod Hospital Board of Incorporators, and the Association for Behavioral Health. He has a Bachelor's of Arts in Economics and a Masters in Education with a concentration in Counseling and Healthcare Administration.