Does America spend enough on addiction treatment? Results from public opinion surveys

Michael T. French, Jenny F. Homer, Amie L. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Addiction treatment is often misunderstood and underappreciated in the United States. Although a large body of literature clearly demonstrates the clinical and economic benefits of addiction treatment for many clients and in most settings, the general public has a somewhat ambivalent attitude toward treatment expansion and taxpayer financing. A potential reason for this disconnect between economic evidence and public opinion is a weak identification with the need for, or the success of, addiction treatment for those individuals without a substance abuse problem themselves or in members of their family. Alternatively, addiction treatment stakeholders may be delivering an ineffective or misdirected message about the social value of this industry. This article explores these and other potential explanations for the paradoxically low placement of the addiction treatment industry among other socially important institutions in the United States. Although none of the explanations advanced in this article has been scientifically tested or verified, it is hoped that the historical inquiry and information provided herein will offer practical strategies for the stability and growth of the addiction treatment industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Addiction treatment
  • Public attitudes
  • Public spending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)


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