Friday, March 6, 2009

Sally Allshouse's Testimony at State Budget Hearings

Good afternoon and thank you for allowing me to speak on behalf of addiction services in Delaware. I am Sally Allshouse, Executive Director of Brandywine Counseling, Inc., an addiction treatment and prevention agency. I would first like to thank you for your efforts in the past and want to remind us all about the facts of addiction:
  • One in four people between the ages of 15-54 has an addiction problem.
  • One in four children lives in a home where alcohol is abused.
  • Addiction is hidden in the diseases and injuries it spawns, including: Cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, hypertension, strokes, pneumonia, kidney failure, asthma, bronchitis, hip fractures, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis C.
  • $10 billion in acute care hospital charges result from addiction in women over the age of 59. 98% was spent to treat the illnesses and injuries that are the consequence of addiction. Only 2% is spent to treat addiction.
  • School failure, infant mortality or low birth weight, and child abuse are consequences of not treating addiction.
  • More than 50 epidemiological studies in the past decade have found small to modest increases in the risks of breast cancer associated with drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • Between 80 and 95 percent of alcoholics smoke cigarettes, a rate that is three times higher than among the population as a whole. Approximately 70% of alcoholics are heavy smokers.
  • Adolescents who begin smoking are more likely to begin using alcohol and smokers are 10 times more likely to develop alcoholism than nonsmokers.
  • Considerable evidence suggests a connection between heavy alcohol consumption and increased risk of cancer, with an estimated 2 to 4% of all cancer cases thought to be caused either directly or indirectly by alcohol.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the leading known cause of mental retardation in western civilization.
  • Most teenage pregnancy cases result from unprotected sex, which likely occurs between teens who are under the influence of alcohol. Only 75% of teens use protection when sober, and as teens consume more and more alcohol, that figure decreases. Just only a little over 10% of teens remember to use protection when intoxicated, and because of this, the number of teenage pregnancies have also risen.
  • Addiction is the leading factor in: 40% of homelessness, 38% of child abuse and neglect, 50% of domestic violence disputes, 50% of auto accidents and 62% of aggravated assaults.
  • Every person in the US pays approximately $1000 per year for unnecessary health care, extra law enforcement, auto crashes, crime and lost productivity resulting from untreated addiction.

Why do I quote these numbers? It is because of your concern about cancer rates, infant mortality rates, HIV/AIDS rates, and tobacco use. It is a hard fact for us as a society to admit and say that unless we treat addiction and offer addiction prevention efforts, some of our major health concerns will not be addressed. I ask that you continue to support addiction treatment and prevention services.

Thank you.

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