There’s no doubt about it, Americans going to the Emergency Room or the Emergency Department for something drug or alcohol related has skyrocketed since the turn of the century. ERs and EDs are now often stuffed with drug addicts, alcohol addicts, and substance abusers. Try as they might, these individuals for whatever reason cannot seem to win the battles against their addiction problems. They just keep going back to the ER when they overdose or get into an addiction-related accident. For example:
• Roughly 33 percent of ER patients in the U.S. receive painkiller medication as part of treatment programs.
• ER visits related to prescription opioid use have increased over 400 percent since the 90’s.
• ER patients might not visit other healthcare facilities, such as mental health or addiction treatment centers.
• ER visits involving a health crisis can foster teachable moments that can change behavior.
Why Intervention, Though it Might be Tense, Should be Applied in an Emergency Room
Various issues abound drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse in general. One of them is the simple matter of how costly drug abuse and alcohol abuse is to the nation. These habits rack up a pretty high bill. From overdose emergency response to hospital bills to incarceration costs to collateral damages and thefts, substance abuse costs the nation a pretty penny. All in all, drug abuse costs roughly two-hundred billion dollars annually, and alcohol abuse costs over two-hundred and twenty billion. Much of this is excised on to the American taxpayers too, hence the fact that we all suffer from drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.
It’s simply stated. Drug and alcohol abuse actually costs the nation money, time, lives, resources, family members, jobs, etc. Problem after problem has arisen from increased drug and alcohol abuse. Largest of them all is the matter of how many Americans are addicted and, as a result, how many have died from their habits. In the U.S. today more than twenty-five million Americans abuse drugs and alcohol and more than eighty-thousand die from their habits. These numbers are far higher than they were even just a few years ago.
This is why intervention is so important and must be applied on substance abusers and addicts while they are still in the hospital. If it is done in this way, therapists can use “motivational interviewing” to highlight the risks of drug use and the factors that increase that risk. They can also use techniques designed to help addicts increase their desire to change and commit to making different choices.
If intervention techniques are applied and applied well in am ED or ER environment, then the chances are those who wound up there will be convinced to go into treatment and hopefully, just hopeful they will be successful in treatment at such a rehab center and will not have to come back into the ER for addiction and substance abuse-related reasons.
When professional interventionists and counselors come into hospitals to talk to addicts, the addicts walk out of the hospital, (after they are stable of course), and into rehab and treatment. This is the best way to go about it by far. An addict is at his or her weakest when he or she just finished overdosing and is in the hospital recovering. This is the perfect time to try to convince them to go our there and get their lives back by going to a rehab program. Some will do so and some will not, but the fact of the matter will remain that at least effort will have been make on every single addict so afflicted.