Q: What was the statistic that stuck out most in your mind when you read the CASA Columbia report?
Berni Fried: Although it may be hard to believe, only 1 in 10 adults who struggle with addiction are getting the assistance they need through therapy and clinical treatment. That means a full 90 percent of people in the addiction community have been failed by our medical community. That is an astounding piece of information.
Q: In your opinion, why is this number so low?
Berni Fried: Several factors have undermined addiction treatment, including the misunderstandings associated with addiction and the ineffective methods currently used to diagnose and treat this devastating disease. With so many challenges and complexities in this field, it’s only natural that people who require treatment are falling through the cracks. But ninety percent is a huge percentage!
Q: Who do you see as being primarily responsible for ensuring that this trend changes?
Berni Fried: There are quite a few moving parts in this equation. Health care providers serve as the leaders in terms of prevention of the disease, as well as diagnoses and treatment efforts. Then, alongside these health care providers are trained professionals such as nurse practitioners and psychologists, as well as physician assistants and social workers.
Q: Where do you believe the therapy community should improve?
Berni Fried: The medical community as a whole needs a clear set of standards that determine how professionals should provide addiction treatment. As a result, all members can comprehend these necessary strategies and plan their treatment schedules accordingly.