Rising alcohol addiction costs ‘could cripple the NHS’

A reader (thanks Foppe) shared this article with me about the burden addiction is placing on Britain’s NHS.
I have a couple of reactions. This could be looked at as a simple reporting of facts on a public health issue. But, why do we never hear stories about cardiac disease crippling health systems? Cancer? Other diseases?
The answers that pop into my mind are that the health system (and society) doesn’t consider addiction as being under their purview, they don’t feel ownership of the problem. There are a lot of reasons for this, including the existence of a categorically segregated and that, beyond detox, treatment does not look like traditional medical treatment. (Though the emergence of disease management protocols has expanded the role of the medical system and recovery management seeks to integrate primary care into addiction treatment.)
The other answer that comes into my mind is that it’s an expression of stigma–passive-aggressive whining about how much “those people” are costing the rest of us.

3 thoughts on “Rising alcohol addiction costs ‘could cripple the NHS’

  1. I agree with your conclusions. The good news is that people are realizing that the current state of affairs is inadequate and unsustainable.It is a sad that the status quo is only questioned as the result of financial crisis, but that is par for the course. It is fortunate in this case that some of the most effective interventions are also shown to be cost effective.Addiction is the number one health problem, and the health system in the US generally does a bad job with this population.Treating addiction within this system could go a long way toward legitimizing it as a chronic disease, fighting stigma and normalizing recovery; but the medical profession has a poor track record in working with addiction and I am not sure they can handle it.

  2. "The role of the NHS should not just be about treating the consequences of alcohol related-harm but also about active prevention, early intervention, and working in partnership with services in local communities to raise awareness of alcohol-related harm."can't argue with that.

  3. I think there's a blurring in the interpretation here. The article was not about addiction per se.The cost relates not just to treating addiction, but dealing with the consequences of national heavy consumption of alcohol. There are cultural issues here. For many here, heavy drinking has become a normalised activity, but is much more sensitive to brief interventions than those who fulfil addiction criteria.Where's the line between choice and disease?I do agree that a non-judgemental attitude here is helpful in tackling the problems however we categorise them.

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